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Jon Rahm Storms to Victory at Augusta National

By: | Mon 10 Apr 2023

JON RAHM held his nerve to become the fourth Spaniard to win The Masters. In the process, he emulated last year’s champion Scottie Scheffler by winning his fourth tournament of the year, reclaimed the world No1 spot and tightened his grip at the top of the FedEx Cup standings.

On what would have been Seve Ballesteros’ 66th birthday, Rahm played steady golf to record a final round of 69 for a winning total of 276, 12 under par, and a four-shot win over Brooks Koepka and 52-year-old Phil Mickelson, who finished with a sensational 65.

It is his second major victory to add to his US Open success and he joins Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia as Masters champions. One of the first people to greet him as he came off the 18th green was Olazabal.

And all of this after starting the tournament with a double-bogey when he four-putted the first green.

There was some drama on the final hole when Rahm hit a provisional ball. His first drive had clattered into the trees on the left but the Spaniard did not realise it had bounced back into play. He couldn’t reach the green in two but produced a sensational third shot to end the tournament in style.

He said: “The history of the game is a big part of why I play and so is Seve so to get it done on his birthday, 40 years after he won here is just incredible. And the par I finished with was a par Seve would have been proud of.

“I made a birdie on the eighth hole and I felt that was key. I was aware that Phil and Jordan Spieth were making lots of birdies ahead of me so I knew I had to get through Amen Corner without making any mistakes and I achieved that.

“Jose Maria said he hoped it would be the first of many wins for me here. If we had spent 10 seconds more together I am sure we would have ended up in tears. I am at a loss for words."

After finally finishing the weather-delayed third round yesterday morning Rahm trailed Koepka by two strokes but he wasted little time in reeling in the American, who was looking for his fifth major.

Koepka, who has struggled for form and fitness until winning on the LIV Golf League last week, simply ran out of steam and stumbled to a 75. He was 12 under par after 36 holes but over the final two rounds he couldn’t buy a putt.

Koepka said: “I played some terrible shots today. I am healthy now and playing well. Finishing second is not fun and gives me all the motivation I need to keep going."

There were plenty of birdies being made around the course but they came from players who started the final round too far behind to seriously challenge the leaders. The best of those came from Mickelson, who rolled back the years with a spectacular round of 65 to finish joint second on eight under par. It came as a huge surprise as Mickelson has shown no form for more than 12 months.

Former champions Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed finished joint sixth. Further back was defending champion Scottie Scheffler on four under, along with England's US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, who was the highest finisher from the UK.

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Tags: the masters Masters 2023 Masters

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