Masters 2023: Jon Rahm wins, beating Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson at Augusta National

  • By Jonathan Jurejko
  • BBC Sport

Video caption,

Masters 2023: Jon Rahm clinches victory at Augusta

2023 Masters last leaderboard

-12 J Rahm (Spa); -8 P Mickelson (US), B Koepka (US); -7 P Reed (US), J Spieth (US), R Henley (US)

Selected others: -6 V Hovland (Nor); -4 S Scheffler (US), M Fitzpatrick (Eng); -2 J Rose (Eng), S Lowry (Ire), S Bennett (US)*; +4 T Fleetwood (Eng), T Hatton (Eng)

Spain’s Jon Rahm stored his nerve and endurance to win a primary Masters, swinging an thrilling last day in his favour from American Brooks Koepka.

Rahm, 28, carded a three-under 69 to complete on 12 below and win by 4 pictures as Koepka, who led by two going into the ultimate spherical, signed for a 75.

Koepka ended joint second with veteran Phil Mickelson, who shot a a shocking seven-under 65 to complete eight below.

Former champions Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed have been a shot additional again.

Defending champion Scottie Scheffler completed in a bunch on 4 below, together with England’s US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, who was the best finisher from Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Rahm grew to become the fourth Spanish participant to win the Masters and his victory poignantly got here on what would have been the 66th birthday of the legendary two-time champion Seve Ballesteros, who gained in 1980 and 1983.

“I wasn’t sure how [the emotion] was going to come to me until I hit the third shot on the 18th,” mentioned Rahm, whose first main win got here at the 2021 US Open.

“History of the sport is a giant motive why I play and Seve is a giant a part of that historical past.

“For me to get it finished on the 40th anniversary of his second Masters win and on his birthday was extremely significant.”

How Rahm took management to win Green Jacket

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Rahm’s Masters profitable spherical

Rahm was one of many pre-tournament favourites – alongside Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, who missed the midway reduce, and world primary Scheffler – after a powerful 12 months within the lead-up to the primary males’s main of the season.

With three wins on the PGA Tour this 12 months, plus 4 top-10 finishes in six earlier Masters begins, Rahm had the shape and earlier pedigree to win at Augusta – and he duly delivered.

Remarkably, he began his bid on Thursday with a double bogey after a four-putt on the primary gap. After that he barely made a incorrect transfer.

Rahm confirmed all sides of his excellent all-round recreation – significantly his relentlessly big driving and nerveless placing – to file a gap spherical of 65 and then posting scores of 69, 73 and 69.

Not solely did Rahm win the enduring Green Jacket for the primary time, he additionally returned to the world primary rating.

Leading by 4 pictures with 4 holes left to play, he maintained that benefit going into the 18th gap and may even afford to hit his last drive into the bushes.

The ball ended up bouncing again into play and touchdown 150 yards from the tee, however he retained composure to put up and knock a elegant chip to inside a number of ft for an unorthodox par.

“It was a really uncommon par, very a lot a Seve par – in a non purposeful manner. I do know he was pulling for me and it was an incredible Sunday,” added the 28-year-old.

After sinking his last putt, Rahm shook his clenched fists whereas trying as much as the sky.

His household – spouse Kelley, together with two sons Kepa and Eneko – rapidly joined him on the 18th inexperienced earlier than he was congratulated additional by associates and household.

Those included compatriot Jose Maria Olazabal, one other two-time Masters champion and one in every of Rahm’s mentors.

Video caption,

Masters 2023: Sahith Theegala emulates Tiger Woods’ well-known chip on 16th

Koepka fades as LIV denied victory

What seemed set to be a good two-way duel between Rahm and Koepka ended up being a managed and scientific victory for the Spaniard.

As nicely as Rahm’s brilliance, a poor last spherical from Koepka was a major issue.

Koepka was bidding for a fifth main title – and a primary since 2019 – regardless of barely having performed 72-hole occasions in latest months after deciding to modify to the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour.

The LIV tournaments are performed over 54 holes, though Koepka arrived at the Masters in kind having gained final week’s occasion in Miami the place his $4m (£3.2m) prize, exceeded the file $3.24m Rahm will take house for profitable the primary main of the 12 months.

But his driving grew to become wayward early within the last spherical and as soon as that allowed the momentum to shift in direction of Rahm, Koepka couldn’t recuperate.

Asked by Sky Sports how he felt after being unable to take care of his lead, Koepka mentioned: “Kind of ho-hum. I did not play that nice. I hit some good pictures and simply ended up in some horrible spots. Then at the tip attempting to make birdies when he is forward – it is powerful.

“Second is not very fun so that’s motivation in itself.”

Mickelson and Spieth roll again the years

Image supply, Getty Images

Image caption,

Mickelson’s cost got here regardless of having solely managed two top-20 finishes in 10 LIV Golf occasions, which have a 48-man subject

In entrance of the ultimate pair, a dramatic battle started to construct as a number of former main champions jostled for place and threated to make the most of any slip-ups.

Three-time Masters winner Mickelson, 52, surprisingly grew to become the primary challenger after a scorching run of 5 birdies within the last seven holes.

Mickelson skipped final 12 months’s match due to a self-imposed break from the game, after he made controversial feedback concerning the Saudi-backed LIV challenge which he ultimately joined.

But he seemed like his previous self as he took the acclaim of the Augusta patrons after the ultimate birdie moved him into the clubhouse lead.

It additionally lifted him into joint second place alongside fellow LIV participant Koepka, remaining there to turn into the oldest participant in Masters historical past to complete within the prime 5.

“This is as much fun as I could possibly have playing golf,” he mentioned.

“The last spherical of the Masters and to play the best way I did and end with a few birdies, whatever the end result, it has been a enjoyable day.

“I’m grateful to be right here and compete, to be a part of this nice Championship and to play how I did was further particular.”

Mickelson completed a shot forward of taking part in associate Spieth, with the 2015 champion additionally racing up the leaderboard after beginning with two birdies and including three on the bounce across the flip.

Reed, the 2018 champion and one other to maneuver to LIV, had a double-bogey seven on the second gap however responded with eight birdies on his option to a 68 as he joined Spieth on seven below, in a share of fourth place, with one other American Russell Henley.

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