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Sunday, 14 August 2016
Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose and Matt Kuchar  (Getty Images)
Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose and Matt Kuchar (Getty Images)

Justin Rose won gold for Great Britain as he overcame Henrik Stenson on a dramatic final day of the Olympic Men's Golf Competition in Rio de Janeiro.

Golf had not featured in the Olympic Games for 112 years and the Ryder Cup team-mates made its return well worth the wait as they produced an enthralling final day in Brazil.

The Englishman came into day four with a one-shot lead over the Swede but the pair were level at 15 under as they stood on the 18th tee after a day of nip and tuck on the Olympic Golf Course.

Both men found themselves just short of the green on the par five last after two shots and - while Stenson put his approach to 23 feet and three-putted for a bogey - Rose got to two feet and holed his birdie putt to sign for a 67 and beat Stenson by two shots.

American Matt Kuchar fired a brilliant closing 63 to finish at 13 under and take the bronze.

This was the second time in as many months Stenson had faced a final day shoot out to claim one of golf's biggest prizes after he produced a stunning closing 63 to beat Phil Mickelson at The Open Championship and win his first Major.

Rounds of 66-68-68-68 got him within touching distance of adding Olympic gold to his Claret Jug but he takes home a silver to add to his Open, Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup titles.

Rose is also a Major champion after his US Open success at Merion in 2013, and his gold medal will also sit next to a Harry Vardon Trophy after two of the European Tour's elite performers put on a show on the biggest stage in the world.

The pair will now begin to turn their attentions to Hazeltine and a successful defence of the Ryder Cup they helped to win by claiming three points from three as a pair at Gleneagles two years ago.

"I just said today that I had to out Stenson Stenson," said Rose. "I knew I wasn't going to get much from him at all. Obviously the bogey at the last only came because he had to force the putt in.

"But he is unbelievable. He's relentless and a great player, and I can't wait to be on the same team as him in the Ryder Cup. He's a great player and he's a great friend and I just gave him a hug on the 18th green, he's as gracious as ever.

"It feels absolutely incredible. The whole week, I've been so focused. I've been so into it. I've been so up for it.

I've been just so determined to represent Team GB as best as I could and it was just the most magical week, it really was - Justin Rose

The leading duo both took advantage of the par five first for opening birdies and Stenson - who made a 108-foot putt on day two - rolled in a 40-footer on the second to take a share of the lead.

That did not last long, however, as Rose put his approach on the next to six feet to make a second birdie of the day.

Both Stenson and Rose took advantage of the par five fifth but when the Englishman put his second on the seventh over the green and dropped a shot, the lead was shared again.

The 36 year old then responded in brilliant fashion, putting his tee-shot on the eighth to six feet and getting himself back to 15 under.

The pair were going blow-for-blow and Stenson got back in a share with a birdie on the par five tenth before Rose failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker on the 13th. Stenson had the lead with five to play.

Kuchar had made birdies on the fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth to put himself in contention for bronze and when he put his second shot to 14 feet on the tenth to set up an eagle, he was favourite for third place. Another birdie was to come on the 15th and after putting his approach to three feet on the penultimate hole, he was 13 under.

Stenson missed the green on the par three 14th to surrender a first bogey of the day and, after Rose made a brilliant up-and-down from the sand to save par, Kuchar was just one off the lead.

A par on the last saw the 38 year old set the clubhouse target but Rose put his approach on the 15th to six feet to once again get his nose in front before Stenson went even closer on the next and things were level again heading to the last.

Belgian Thomas Pieters was fourth at nine under after a closing 65, a shot clear of Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello, Australian Marcus Fraser and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

Spaniard Sergio Garcia, Argentina's Emiliano Grillo and American Bubba Watson finished at seven under to complete the top ten.

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