Rio Olympics

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson battle for Olympic gold in Rio

 Justin Rose goes into the final round at 14-under
Phil Casey in Rio

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson were turning the battle for gold and silver into a private duel in Rio, but the destiny of the bronze medal was firmly up for grabs.

A month after Stenson won a thrilling battle with Phil Mickelson for the Open title at Royal Troon, golf's return to the Olympics for the first time in 112 years had also effectively become a match-play contest between two of the six major champions in the field.

Rose took a one-shot lead over Ryder Cup partner Stenson into the final round and maintained it as both men birdied the first, only for Stenson to hole from 35 feet on the next to get on level terms.

A birdie from close range on the third - where Stenson saved par from a greenside bunker - took Rose back into the lead and another on the fifth kept him in front as Stenson also picked up a shot on the par five.

At 15 and 14 under par respectively the pair had thoroughly distanced themselves from the field, with Thomas Pieters, Marcus Fraser, Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Matt Kuchar all tied for third on eight under.

And Ireland's Seamus Power, Sergio Garcia, Fabian Gomez, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Bubba Watson were all just a shot further back to make a play-off for the bronze medal a distinct possibility.

Rose fell back into a tie for the lead when he bogeyed the seventh after firing his approach over the green, but responded superbly with a birdie from five feet on the next.

The battle for the bronze had also taken a major twist, with Kuchar - who did not even know the format of the event until recently - carding a birdie on the ninth and eagle on the 10th.

That took the American to 11 under par and two shots ahead of Cabrera-Bello, with Pieters and Aphibarnrat a shot further back.

Power's challenge for a medal had come to an end however, a bogey on the 14th and a double bogey on the 15th dropping the 29-year-old back to four under.

Rio Olympics

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