Justin Rose delivers Gold Medal for Great Britain
‘Rule Britannia’ is ringing out at the Olympic Games golf venue with Team GB’s Justin Rose capturing the gold medal in a nerve-wracking final round in the Men’s Olympic Games Golf event.
Rose won by two shots with a birdie at the final hole after both he and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson were each at 15-under par coming down the last.
However Rose bravely held his nerve to hole a six footer for birdie in a round of 67 for a 16-under par tally leaving Stenson, as the reigning Open Champion, to settle for the silver medal following a third straight round of 68 for a 14-under par tally.
American Matt Kuchar won the bronze medal with a course record equalling 63 for a 13-under par tally.
Rose was naturally delighted after his victory and even suggested that winning an Olympic Gold medal was more rewarding than capturing the 2013 US Open.
“That felt better than anything I’ve ever won,” he said. “It was the best tournament I’ve ever done.”
Rose’s victory brings down the curtain on a 112-year wait for the ancient club-and-ball game returning to the modern Olympics but soured somewhat by many of the world’s top golfers electing not to tee-up in Rio including the game’s top-four ranked players.
But taking nothing away from Rose who enjoyed a brilliant week, highlighted by a hole-in-one Thursday, stringing together rounds of 67, 69 and 65 to head into the final day with a one-shot advantage over Stenson, 12-under to 11-under. It was soon apparent they would duel for gold and the major-winning couple were nip and tuck throughout the concluding round.
Stenson birdied 16 to draw the pair level on 15-under and with neither playing an impressive 17th, the battle for gold went to the 72nd hole.
Neither played perfectly from tee to green with their second shots on the long par-five leaving awkward chips. But while Stenson cracked under pressure, leaving his approach well short and subsequently three-putting for bogey, Rose stayed cool.
His chip checked right in front of the hole to leave a four-foot birdie putt for another four-under 67 he never looked like missing.
“It was always going to be tough and it came down to the last shots,” Stenson said. “Justin was the better player today.”
Kuchar raised eyebrows before the tournament started when he appeared unaware it wasn’t played in team format but had certainly figured out what he was doing by Sunday.
A flawless round included six birdies and an eagle for a 63, matching the best score of the week, to send him flying up the leaderboard and into bronze.
“I’ve never been so proud of a third place finish in my life,” Kuchar said.
Belgium’s Thomas Pieters finished fourth after a final day 65 and was left cursing Saturday’s disastrous 77 which ruled him out of the medals.
Marcus Fraser finished the best of the Aussie team in a tie for 5th place after leading earlier in the tournament thanks to an opening round of 63. Fraser’s challenge came to a halt on the weekend with back-to-back rounds of 72 leaving him eight strokes off the pace.
Scott Hend finished the historic week in equal 39th and 1-over.