Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rose Takes Gold in Golf's Return to Olympics

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rose Takes Gold in Golf's Return to Olympics

Article excerpt

RIO DE JANEIRO * From the top step of the podium, Justin Rose bowed his head as the Olympic gold medal was placed around his neck, and he stared at it for the longest time.

Even for a major champion, this was more than he ever imagined.

"It's a moment you've seen in many other sports," Rose said. "The medal ceremony is what it's all about, really."

This was why the 36-year-old Englishman circled the Rio Games on his calendar all along, even as some of the biggest names in golf began pulling out. Rose came to Rio to watch, and to win.

And when his turn came Sunday, he delivered a gold-medal performance worthy of a 112-year wait.

The final round was so tense that no one led by more than one shot until Rose hit a 40-yard pitch to 3 feet, a shot every bit as significant as the 4-iron from 229 yards on the 18th hole at Merion when he won the 2013 U.S. Open.

The birdie gave him a 4-under 67 and a two-shot victory over Henrik Stenson to win golf's first gold medal since 1904 in St. Louis.

Matt Kuchar of the United States closed with a 63 to win the bronze.

How big was golf in the Olympics?

"I've never been so happy with a third-place finish in my life," Kuchar said.

And then there was Rose.

As the final putt fell into the cup, he thrust his fist into the air and popped the British crest on his shirt before turning to embrace Stenson. He raised both arms, pumped his fist again and took a bow.

"The reality is incredible. The reality hasn't sunk in," Rose said. "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."

Stenson already faced one duel this summer at Royal Troon to win the British Open with the lowest score in the history of the major championships.

Deep in the round, the Swede said his spine locked up on him. He was stretching on all fours on the 13th and a physiotherapist worked on him at the 14th, where a poor chip cost him the lead. …

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