Rio de Janeiro - Britain's
Justin Rose outdueled Sweden's Henrik Stenson in a tension-packed
final-round thriller on Sunday to win the first Olympic golf gold medal in
112 years at the Rio Games men's tournament.
Justin Rose (Getty Images)
Rose pitched the ball 18 inches from the cup on the par-5 18th hole
and sank the birdie putt to win gold, completing a four-under par 67
final round to finish 72 holes on 16-under 268.
"Oh my God. That felt better than anything I've ever won. It was the best tournament I've ever done," Rose said.
"Coming up with that last pitch when I needed it was magical."
Stenson closed with a bogey to take the silver on 270, one stroke ahead of US bronze medalist Matt Kuchar.
"It was always going to be tough and it came down to the last shots. Justin was the better player today," Stenson said.
"He started one ahead and it came down to the last shots. I didn't play my best."
An event dimmed by the decisions of more than 20 players to stay
away, including world number one Jason Day of Australia and the entire
world top four, provided plenty of excitement and spectacular shotmaking
as the gold hung on a knife's edge all day.
"It felt like a cross between a golf tournament and a carnival," Rose said. "It was unique, incredible."
Just a month after fifth-ranked Stenson won his first major title at
last month's British Open in a final-day battle with American Phil
Mickelson, he found himself locked in a similar fight with 12th-ranked
Rose, the 2013 US Open champion.
At the par-5 18th, Stenson was shy of the green with his approach
while Rose was left of the green with bunkers between, the gold fight
down to a pitch and putt contest.
Stenson's ball hit the green and spun well back from the cup.
Rose followed and pitched the ball 18 inches from the hole. Stenson
ran his 22-foot birdie attempt eight feet past the hole, then missed his
comeback putt for par and settled for bogey and a round of 68.
Seconds later, Rose tapped in for the victory, raising his right fist
into the air and then using it to tap the Team GB logo on his shirt
over his heart.
from a host of contenders to take the last podium spot by firing a 63,
matching the Olympic record set in round one by Australian Marcus
The stroke-play last round felt more like a match-play showdown just
as it was in 1904 when Canadian George Lyon took the prior Olympic
A bogey by Rose at 13 dropped him one stroke behind Stenson, the
36-year-old Englishman finding a bunker with his approach and missing a
six-foot par putt.
Rose found a greenside bunker at the par-3 14th and blasted out to 14
feet while Stenson made a poor pitch from off the green and missed a
20-foot par putt. When Rose sank his tense par putt, they were
deadlocked again at 14 under.
Rose dropped his approach six feet from the cup at 15 and made the
birdie putt to reclaim a one-shot lead, then barely missed a 30-foot
birdie effort at 16, only to have Stenson calmly sink a four-foot birdie
putt to pull level at 15 under.
Both parred 17 to set up the last-hole decider.
Kuchar, ranked 20th, birdied four of the last five holes on the front
nine and began the back side with a 13-foot eagle putt to reach 11
A 12-foot birdie putt at 15 closed Kuchar's grasp around a bronze
medal and a tap-in birdie at the par-3 17th left him only a shot from
silver by the end.
Olympic men's golf scores after Sunday's final round (par 71):
268 - Justin Rose (GBR) 67-69-65-67
270 - Henrik Stenson (SWE) 66-68-68-68
271 - Matt Kuchar (USA) 69-70-69-63
275 - Thomas Pieters (BEL) 67-66-77-65
276 - Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP) 67-70-71-68, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 71-69-69-67, Marcus Fraser (AUS) 63-69-72-72
277 - Sergio Garcia (ESP) 69-72-70-66, Bubba Watson (USA) 73-67-67-70, Emiliano Grillo (ARG) 70-69-68-70
278 - Patrick Reed (USA) 72-69-73-64, Bernd Wiesberger (AUT)
74-67-69-68, An Byeong-Hun (KOR) 68-72-70-68, David Lingmerth (SWE)
279 - Martin Kaymer (GER) 69-72-72-66, Seamus Power (IRL)
71-67-74-67, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 70-75-67-67, Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR)
70-74-68-67, Fabian Gomez (ARG) 70-67-73-69
280 - Graham DeLaet (CAN) 66-71-74-69
281 - Alex Cejka (GER) 67-71-74-69, Yuta Ikeda (JPN) 74-69-69-69,
Soren Kjeldsen (DEN) 73-68-70-70, Gregory Bourdy (FRA) 67-69-72-73,
Mikko Ilonen (FIN) 73-69-66-73, Padraig Harrington (IRL) 70-71-67-73
282 - Danny Lee (NZL) 72-65-76-69, Matteo Manassero (ITA) 69-73-71-69, Joost Luiten (NED) 72-70-70-70
283 - David Hearn (CAN) 73-70-74-66, Wu Ashun (CHN) 74-71-70-68, Nino
Bertasio (ITA) 72-72-71-68, Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN) 70-68-74-71, Nicolas
Colsaerts (BEL) 68-71-71-73, C.T. Pan (TPE) 69-69-71-74, Rodolfo
Cazaubon (MEX) 76-66-68-73
284 - Danny Willett (GBR) 71-70-69-74, Rickie Fowler (USA) 75-71-64-74
285 - Felipe Aguilar (CHI) 71-71-75-68, Adilson da Silva (BRA)
72-71-73-69, Ryan Fox (NZL) 70-73-74-68, Scott Hend (AUS) 74-69-71-71
286 - Wang Jeung-Hun (KOR) 70-72-77-67, Espen Kofstad (NOR)
72-76-69-69, Roope Kakko (FIN) 72-76-68-70, Jaco van Zyl (RSA)
287 - Gavin Green (MAS) 73-74-72-68
288 - Danny Chia (MAS) 73-70-76-69, Jose-Felipe Lima (POR) 70-70-77-71
289 - Jhonattan Vegas (VEN) 72-76-71-70, Li Haotong (CHN) 70-73-71-75, S.S.P. Chowrasia (IND) 71-71-69-78
291 - Miguel Luis Tabuena (PHI) 73-75-73-70
292 - Shingo Katayama (JPN) 74-75-77-66
293 - Julien Quesne (FRA) 71-79-72-71, Brandon Stone (RSA) 75-72-71-75
294 - Anirban Lahiri (IND) 74-73-75-72
295 - Siddikur Rahman (BAN) 75-70-75-75
297 - Ricardo Gouveia (POR) 73-68-76-80