RIO DE JANEIRO: Justin Rose won the first Olympic gold medal handed to a golfer in 108 years after holding off the challenge of Sweden’s Henrik Stenson to win by two shots.

Rose, who becomes Team GB’s first ever Olympic golf champion, shot a four-round total of 268 to finish 16-under par after a thrilling final round.

The Brit and the Swede were neck and neck throughout the day with Stenson sinking a birdie putt to level the scores on the 16th.

But a final-hole pitch to within three feet of the pin gave Rose the edge, with Stenson missing his long putt for birdie and again for his par. Rose only needed one putt to seal the historic win.

Rose said: “This feels better than any tournament I’ve ever won. This is so unique. The crowd out there today were incredible.

“It’s a cross between gold and a carnival atmosphere, with people being so patriotic, the Union Jack was flying out there – it was amazing.

“The whole week has been incredible. Representing Team GB and feeling like you’re bigger than just your individual sport is just incredible.

“I hope we could show people in Brazil who don’t know and love the game yet [what a spectacle golf is]. For people around the world I’m sure that was an intriguing battle, so I’m glad it came down to a nip-and-tuck final day.

“Henrik was never going to give an inch today. The only bogey he made was on 18 and that’s because he was trying to force the first putt in. He gave me nothing and I knew that would be the case. My goal today was to out-Stenson Stenson.

“To come up with that pitch [on the 18th] when I needed it is magical.”