Proud Rose wins historic gold medal for Britain

Sun Aug 14, 2016 4:11pm EDT
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By Liana B. Baker and Andrew Downie

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Britain's Justin Rose birdied the final hole to win the Rio Olympic golf tournament on Sunday, the first gold medalist in a sport returning to the Olympics after a 112-year absence.

Rose, who hit a hole in one on his first day, carded a final round four-under-par 67 to beat Sweden's Henrik Stenson by two shots in a competition that went all the way to the final putts.

"Honestly this is a dream come true," said Rose. "I've been thinking about Rio for a long, long time. To come out of it with a medal is incredible, and to come out of it with gold, unbelievable.

"I was in a great fight with Henrik, a good friend of mine, and it took world class golf to win today so I am very proud of the achievement and I've just got to let it all soak in now."

The overnight leader was neck-and-neck with Stenson throughout much of the final round but he hit a lovely approach shot to within feet of the pin at the last hole.

Stenson put his long putt past the hole and missed his next shot to card a bogey six. Rose, whose only major victory was the U.S. Open in 2013, birdied and then punched the air and grabbed the British logo on his shirt to the acclaim of the crowd.

The United States' Matt Kuchar, who was only included after world number three Jordan Spieth pulled out, finished one stroke behind Stenson to win bronze.

Spieth and the other three men in the world's top four - Jason Day of Australia, American Dustin Johnson and Ireland's Rory McIlroy - withdrew from the Olympics, some of them citing concerns over the Zika virus.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Golf - Final - Men's Individual Stroke Play - Olympic Golf Course - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 14/08/2016.  Justin Rose (GBR) of Britain reacts after putt on the third green during the final round of the men's Olympic golf compeititon. REUTERS/Andrew Boyers