Britain's Justin Rose edges into lead ahead of gold medal round

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Olympians on Golf

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Britain's Justin Rose has golf's first gold medal in 112 years in his sights after he edged ahead to take the lead in the Olympic tournament on Saturday.

Rose got a blistering start by firing eagles on the third and fifth holes. He is heading into Sunday with a one-stroke lead over Sweden's Henrik Stenson, his Ryder Cup partner and friend.

"When you're looking at this situation, you're looking at the shiniest medal possible," Rose said. "The groundwork has been laid and a great few days of golf presents me with an opportunity tomorrow."

Rose, who carded the second best score of the day at a 6-under 65, has excelled since the first day of competition when he hit a hole in one, a modern Olympic first.

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Stenson, the British Open champion, however, will not make it easy for Rose. Stenson said he was coming off a tiring month and hoped he had enough gas in the tank to stay in contention for gold. Some Swedish handballers following him on the course have been helping his cause.

"To be pushed on by other Swedish athletes out there makes you want to do well," Stenson said.

Australia's Marcus Fraser, who gave up his two-day lead, is three shots off the lead.

Meanwhile, the Americans, who had more players in the field of 60 than any other country, finally showed signs of life.

Rickie Fowler, who has been in Rio over a week and has been spotted all over the athletes' village celebrating his maiden Olympics, shot the lowest score of the day, a seven under par 64 that he said would give him a much needed lie-in on Sunday.

"After playing well today I got myself some more sleeping time with a later tee time, so I'm looking forward to it. It'd be nice to get off to a good start and give myself a chance to possibly podium," Fowler told reporters.

Fowler's team mate Bubba Watson also worked his way up the standings although a muddy putter that distracted him cost him a shot on 14th green. Watson is tied for fourth with Sweden's David Linghmerth and Argentina's Emiliano Grillo.

(Editing by Alison Williams)

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