Rio Olympics 2016: Justin Rose beats Henrik Stenson to Olympic gold in tense finale

Rio 2016 Olympic Games, men's final leaderboard
-16 J Rose (GB); -14 H Stenson (Swe); -13 M Kuchar (US); -9 T Pieters (Bel)
Selected others:-5 M Kaymer (Ger); -3 Harrington (Ire); Level D Willett (GB)

Great Britain's Justin Rose became golf's first Olympic champion since 1904 by seeing off Henrik Stenson in a thrilling final round at Rio 2016.

Rose, 36, was level with Stenson on 15 under par after 17 holes but the Swede bogeyed the last while Rose sank a birdie putt to win by two shots.

The 2013 US Open champion hit a four-under-par 67 to win on 16 under.

Open champion Stenson took silver with a 68, while American Matt Kuchar carded a 63 to claim bronze on 13 under.

"That felt better than anything I've ever won," said Rose.

"It was the best tournament I've ever done. Hopefully we've shown Brazil what golf is about. I'm glad it was close. Not for my nerves, for golf."

While several other high-profile golfers had decided not to compete at the Olympics, Rose had relished the prospect of becoming an Olympian since the moment the sport's return to the Games was confirmed in 2009.

Such was his eagerness to be part of the experience, he arrived the week before the Olympics officially started to ensure he was part of the opening ceremony.

Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Speith and Rory McIlroy
Some of the world's top players including Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Speith and Rory McIlroy opted to miss the Rio Olympics

The Englishman made history by hitting Olympic golf's first hole-in-one in the opening round and started Sunday with a one-shot lead, before shooting four birdies and just one bogey on his outward nine.

Stenson carded birdies in four of his first 10 holes and drew level with Rose when the leader dropped a shot on the 13th.

It looked like a play-off would be needed to separate them but Rose held his nerve on the par-five last, chipping his approach to two feet from the hole, while Stenson's spun away to around 20 feet.

The Swede then raced his birdie putt eight feet past the hole and missed the return to allow Rose the luxury of two putts for victory. He needed just the one.

Reaction

Former world number one Tiger Woods: "Thrilled for Rosie, Henrik & Kuch, but all golfers in Rio this week should be proud."

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker on Twitter: "A Golden Rose. Brilliant from Justin Rose. Could not happen to a nicer guy. Marvellous!"

Wales and Real Madrid footballer Gareth Bale tweeted: "Class Justin Rose."

British golfer Ian Poulter: "Congrats to Justin Rose winning gold for Team GB. Great performance."

Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney: "Congratulations to Justin Rose. Gold medal, absolutely brilliant."

British former Formula 1 world champion Nigel Mansell: "Great gold medal win for Justin Rose, chased by Stenson and Kuchar, many congratulations to the GB Team."

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