Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Sports

Rose's Olympic spirit is golden

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Justin Rose delivered a gold-medal performance worthy of a 112-year wait.

In a final round Sunday so tense that no one led by more than one shot, Rose won on the last hole with a 40-yard pitch to 3 feet for birdie and 4-under 67, giving him a two-shot victory over Henrik Stenson to win the first gold medal in golf since 1904.

And the 36-year-old from Great Britain, already a major champion, showed how much it meant. As the final putt fell into the cup, Rose thrust his right fist into the air and popped the British crest on his shirt before turning to embrace Sweden's Stenson, who shot 66. He raised both arms, pumped his fist again and took a bow.

"The reality is incredible. The reality hasn't sunk in," said Rose, who finished at 16-under 268. "The whole week, I've been so focused. I've been so into it. I've been up for it. I've been just so determined, I suppose, to represent team GB as best as I could. And it was just the most magical week."

American Matt Kuchar shot 63, the lowest final-round score of his 17-year pro career, to win the bronze. "I can assure you I've never been so excited to finish top three in my life," Kuchar, 38, said. "I've never felt this sort of pride busting out of my chest before."

Stenson and Rose, the Round 3 leader, were tied going to the final hole. Stenson's pitch from 50 yards came up short, just more than 20 feet away, then Rose delivered what amounted to the winner. Knowing that Rose was in tight for birdie, Stenson rammed his birdie putt some 7 feet by the cup and missed the par putt.

"(Rose) made a birdie and I didn't, and that's why he's got a gold medal and I got a silver," Stenson, 40, said.

The other three Americans left with pride but no medal. Bubba Watson (70) tied for eighth at 7 under. Patrick Reed (64) tied for 11th at 6 under. Rickie Fowler (74) tied for 37th at par 284.

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