Justin Rose secured gold for GB in the men’s Olympic Golf Competition, beating Sweden’s Henrik Stenson by two shots in Rio de Janeiro.
Rose began the final day one clear of Open winner Henrik Stenson and the pair had a superb battle through the final round.
Rose and Stenson pulled away from the pack on the front nine on Sunday and, despite a brilliant run from Matt Kuchar of the USA, it came down to the two Europeans at the climax of the first Olympic golf tournament since 1904.
After Stenson had made a fine birdie at the 16th and both he and Rose had parred the short 17th, they were tied on 15-under with just the 18th to play.
Both men fired to the right from the tee, but both stopped short of serious trouble. Good second shots to within 50 yards of the green meant the event would be decided by a test of Rose and Stenson’s short games. Stenson played a poor pitch by his standards and left himself 25 feet short of the cup. Rose then hit a sublime third to within a couple of feet of the cup. When Stenson raced his birdie effort past and missed the return putt, the pressure was off Rose and he holed out for a two shot win.
Watched on by huge galleries, the win was vindication for Rose’s great support for golf’s return to the Olympic programme.
“It feels absolutely incredible. The whole week, I’ve been so into it and up for it,” he said. “I’ve been determined to represent Team GB as best as I could and it was the most magical week.”
Justin Rose swing sequence:
Despite a bogey at the home hole, Stenson took the silver medal for Sweden and Matt Kuchar claimed bronze for the USA after a marvelous final round of 63.
Belgian Thomas Pieters was fourth after closing with a 65, and he was a shot clear of Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello, Australian Marcus Fraser and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat in tied fifth.
Spain’s Sergio Garcia, Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo and American Bubba Watson finished at seven-under-par to round out the top-10.
Rose and Stenson will now turn their attentions to the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine where both men will be key members of Darren Clarke’s European team.
Olympic Men’s Golf Competition results
Date: August 11-14
1 Justin Rose (GB) 67 69 65 67 268
2 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 66 68 68 68 270
3 Matt Kuchar (USA) 69 70 69 63 271
4 Thomas Pieters (Bel) 67 66 77 65 275
T5 Rafa Cabrera Bello (Esp) 67 70 71 68 276
T5 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 71 69 69 67 276
T5 Marcus Fraser (Aus) 63 69 72 72 276
T8 Sergio Garcia (Esp) 69 72 70 66 277
T8 Bubba Watson (USA) 73 67 67 70 277
T8 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 70 69 68 70 277