Rio 2016: Rose beats Stenson in dramatic Olympic golf showdown


An historic gold medal went to Great Britain as Justin Rose won the men's Olympic golf competition by two shots from Sweden's Henrik Stenson, sealing a dramatic victory on the final hole in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

The pair had been inseparable throughout a gripping final round, reminiscent of Stenson's thrilling duel with Phil Mickelson to win The Open last month.

Rose led by a shot going onto the par-four 16th at the Reserva de Marapendi but left his approach shot short and then sent a birdie attempt inches wide of the hole.

Stenson duly took advantage, drawing level at 15 under after making his birdie putt following a pitch to within three feet of the flag. 

Both men parred the short par-three 17th to set up a dramatic finish on the par-five 18th, where they each sent nervous tee shots to the right, finding the fringes of the wide fairway.

Solid second shots saw Rose and Stenson come up just short of the green, effectively sending all four days down to a test of short-range pitching nerve.

Stenson left his third shot well short before sending a long birdie attempt past the hole, missing the par putt on the way back to settle for a disappointing bogey.

Rose by contrast guided his effort to within two feet, sinking his birdie putt with ease after Stenson had holed out to finish on 16 under par and capture the first men's Olympic gold medal in golf since the 1904 Games in Missouri.

A seven-under third round of 64 had seen Rose take a one-shot lead over the Swede into the final day.

The Englishman recorded four birdies and just one bogey in the first eight holes and even survived having his ball interfered with by a spectator on the second. 

There were fewer birdies to be had for the leaders after the turn as nerves began to play their part, while Stenson appeared to struggle with a back problem, briefly receiving treatment on the course. 

The Swede, having birdied three of the first five holes, added two more on the back nine and did not make a bogey until the par-three 14th, when a poor chip cost him a stroke.

Ultimately the 40-year-old, having won his first major with an extraordinary display of nerve at Royal Troon last month, could not replicate that ice-cool display, Rose adding Olympic gold as a career highlight to match his 2013 U.S. Open title and two Ryder Cup triumphs. 

Matt Kuchar produced the round of the day, an eight-under 63, to claim the bronze medal by four shots from Belgian Thomas Pieters. 

Australian Marcus Fraser, who led after 36 holes, started Sunday two shots off the lead and played in the three-man final group, but could only manage a tie for fifth at eight under with Rafael Cabrera Bello of Spain and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat after a 72.

Cabrera Bello's countryman Sergio Garcia and American Bubba Watson shared eighth with Argentine Emiliano Grillo at seven under.