Rio 2016: Justin Rose makes Olympic history with golfing gold

Rose won the first Olympic gold in golf since 1904 after a last hole shootout against Henrik Stenson.

Rio 2016: Justin Rose makes Olympic history with golfing gold
What it means to win Olympic gold (photo : Twitter)

Justin Rose created history for the second time this week as he became the first man to win Olympic gold in the modern era after a successful return to the Games for the sport of golf.

Cat and mouse between two greats of the game

With one of the Olympic values being friendship, it was fitting that two best friends went head-to-head for the gold medal. Rose and Henrik Stenson have played many a Ryder Cup match together and used to be neighbours when they lived in Florida.

Rose was the overnight leader by just one stroke ahead of the final round with his Swedish counterpart and both players set a high standard in the early stages. The pair shared three birdies in the opening five holes as Rose continued to edge ahead. An overhit second shot on the seventh caused Rose to drop his first shot of the day and allow Stenson to draw level, but only briefly as the Brit recovered with a birdie on the following hole.

Stenson upped his game oncemore after the turn, holing a birdie on ten to once again tie for the lead. As Rose bogeyed on 15, Stenson took the lead for the first time on the final round, only to drop a shot himself on 14. Rose then regained his lead a hole later, only for Stenson to keep up the cat and mouse change with the same outcome on 16.

Rose holds his nerve on the final hole

After both players shot pars on the penultimate hole, it became a shootout for gold on number 18. Rose followed Stenson out wide with his tee shot, before both players fell just short of the green with their second. Yet the gold medal was decided on shot three in a battle of the pitching, as Rose left himself six foot from the hole, 25 feet closer than Stenson. The Swede three putted, allowing Rose two shots at the title, though he completed the job in one to win a historic gold for Team GB.

Rose celebrates his winning putt (photo : Twitter / Guardian Sport)
Rose celebrates his winning putt (photo : Twitter / Guardian Sport)

Stenson only finished one stroke ahead of bronze medalist Matt Kuchar, who compiled a record equalling round of 63 to finish 13 under par. Six birdies and an eagle secured the American his spot on the podium and a bronze medal.

After a week of disappointing crowds in almost every event and a build-up marred by questions over golf's suitability for the Olympics, everyone involved with the sport will be proud to have witnessed such great support, with over 12,000 enthusiastic spectators lining the fairways. It's fair to say golf has put in a strong case to be a regular at the Olympic Games and will hope to put on an even better show in Tokyo 2020