• 54°

Justin Rose positioned for golf’s first gold in a century

Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO — Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson know what it’s like to play next to each other on a big stage when it’s all about flag and the gold prize.

That was two years ago at the Ryder Cup, and they were undefeated as partners.

They will be rivals Sunday, playing under their own flag, each pursuing golf’s first Olympic gold medal since 1904.

Rose made two eagles in the opening five holes Saturday and did a little shimmy after making a 10-foot par putt at the end for a 6-under 65, giving him a one-shot lead over Stenson going into the final round — the medal round — at Olympic Golf Course.

After 112 years away, and three days of what amounted to preliminary heats, golf finally gets the feel of being in the Olympics when medals are awarded.

“It’s like all the other sports,” Rose said. “You work really hard to get into the final, and tomorrow is about a great performance and bringing your best golf when you need it. I have the opportunity, and tomorrow is going to be fun.”

Rose was at 12-under 201, a slim margin over Stenson in any circumstances, even more considering the Swede is a month away from his some of the best golf ever played when he won the British Open at Royal Troon with the lowest 72-hole score in major championship history.

Stenson had another 68, his best moment with a wedge in his hand — but not for a shot he hit.

Walking along the edge of the water on the par-5 10th hole, Stenson spotteda caiman — a small crocodile in these parts — and reached over to poke it with the end of his golf club.