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1ST LEAD Rose blossoms on moving day in search of Olympic gold By Derek Wilson, dpa

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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - England‘s Justin Rose fired a brilliant 65 in the third-round of the men‘s Olympic golf competition Saturday to go into Sunday‘s finale one shot clear of Open Champion Henrik Stenson.

Rose tops the Rio de Janeiro pile on 12-under par with the Swede Stenson on minus-11 after a 68. Overnight leader Marcus Fraser of Australia struggled to a one-over par 72 but remains in contention three-shots behind Rose.

"I am not getting too far ahead of myself," Rose said. "Obviously it is a nice position going into tomorrow but there is a lot of work to come out and play another great round of golf."

Two-time Masters winner Bubba Watson moved up the field with a fine 67 to reach six-under, level with Argentine Emiliano Grillo and Swede David Lingmerth.

Round of the day went to American Rickie Fowler with a seven-under 64 while South African Jaco van Zyl hit the second hole-in-one in Olympic history.

Rose went out in 31 for the front nine, with two eagles at the par-four third and par-five fifth, and gained two more shots on the back nine.

He had started three behind Fraser but as the Australian struggled he could claim pole-position in the race for golf‘s first gold medal in 112 years.

"It would mean an awful lot (to win)," Rose said. "You see how much it means to other athletes here in Rio; how people commit and devote their lives to an Olympic medal. To have one would just be unbelievable.

"In golf we haven‘t had the opportunity to realise how much it means yet. But when we see someone with a gold medal around their neck tomorrow, we are all going to realise what a big moment that is."

Fraser managed only a solitary birdie, at the 13th, but scrambled enough that he only dropped shots on the fourth and 14th.

Stenson‘s round also included an interesting interaction with some local Brazilian wildlife as he was pictured poking at an alligator with a golf club.

He will go out in the final group with Fraser and Rose Sunday in search of the medals.

"It would be great to win a medal, we have been waiting a long time. I came here to give myself a chance and it looks like that way," he said.

Van Zyl took the unusual step of withdrawing from the Open and PGA Championship majors to prepare for the Olympic Games. He is unlikely to win a medal sitting at seven-over after three rounds but his hole-in-one on the par-three eighth is something to remember.

"I loved it the minute it was off the face," he said. "I hit to three inches there (on the eighth hole) in the first round and I said to my caddie it would be very special to do it in the Olympics and to get one two rounds later.

"It is a feeling that will never go away, I pured it and got a result. It was great, especially the way I have been playing. Not much to reflect on golf-wise during the first three days, that is the cherry on the cake."

Fowler went out in just 29, highlighted with an eagle on the par-four ninth, and though he bogeyed 14 and 15, he finished with birdies on 17 and 18. He is nine shots behind Rose though and is optimistic he still have something to play for on Sunday.

"It‘d be nice to get off to a good start and give myself a chance to possibly podium," he said.

"I feel like I‘m going to be in a decent position. If I go out and play well tomorrow, I can sneak up there. Normally you don‘t get rewarded much for second and third, but here you can walk away with some hardware."



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(04.03.2021 11:02)

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