Spain’s Jon Rahm wins 2023 Masters Tournament
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Jon Rahm shot 69 to capture his first Masters championship by four strokes over LIV golfers Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson, becoming the fourth player from Spain to win a green jacket.
Rahm finished at 12-under 276, pulling away from Koepka, who entered the final round with a two-stroke lead but struggled all day with his accuracy and shot 75.
MORE FROM NEWS 12:
- Masters blog: The journey to the green jacket
- ‘I’m grateful to be a part of this tournament,’ Mickelson says
- Tiger Woods withdraws from 2023 Masters due to injury
- What is plantar fasciitis, the pain that plagues Tiger Woods?
Mickelson turned back the clock again, matching his best round ever at the Masters with a 65. The 52-year-old Mickelson had eight birdies as the sun replaced two days of steady rains on Sunday.
Jordan Spieth made a late push with nine birdies in the final round and was 7 under.
It’s Rahm’s fourth win of the season, and his second major championship after winning the U.S. Open in 2021.
Rahm surged into the lead on the par-3 sixth hole after Koepka made bogey, and he didn’t let up from there. As Koepka continued to struggle, Rahm built a four-shot lead after birdies at No. 13 and 14 and cruised to the win.
Rahm becomes the first Spaniard since Sergio Garcia to win the Masters in 2017. Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal, also from Spain, both won twice at Augusta National.
Koepka blamed no one but himself for his loss.
“You know, I just kind of played average, and I didn’t get any good breaks, either,” he said.
“But I didn’t feel like I played too bad, and then obviously just tried to give it a run there at the end, but just wasn’t good enough. Congrats to Jon.”
He wishes his opponent the best.
“It’s super awesome to see; he’s been playing really well for a while now, and to get a green jacket is pretty special, so enjoy it,” Koepka said.
From longest day to victory
Rahm’s journey was a transformation of the longest day into his sweetest victory.
Her started Sunday with a four-shot deficit in the morning chill and finishing in fading sunlight as the fourth Spaniard to become a Masters champion.
Rahm closed with a 3-under 69 to pull away from mistake-prone Brooks Koepka. He won by four shots over Koepka and 52-year-old Phil Mickelson, who turned in a tournament-best 65. He is the oldest runner-up in Masters history.
It was Mickelson who declared Rahm would be among golf’s biggest stars even before the Spaniard turned pro in 2016. Rahm now has a green jacket to go along with his U.S. Open title he won in 2021 at Torrey Pines.
Rahm made up two shots on Koepka over the final 12 holes of the rain-delayed third round and started the final round two shots behind. He seized on Koepka’s collapse and then surged so far ahead that Mickelson’s amazing closing round — the best final round ever at Augusta National for the three-time Masters champion — was never going to be enough.
Nothing was more satisfying than an uphill climb to the 18th green to claim the green jacket on a day when Spanish stars aligned. Sunday is the birthdate of his idol, the late Seve Ballesteros, and this is the 40-year anniversary of Ballesteros winning his second Masters title.
Rahm embraced his wife and two children, and as he walked toward the scoring room, there was two-time Masters champion José María Olazábal in his green jacket for the strongest hug of all.
Rahm won for the fourth time this year — just as Scottie Scheffler did a year ago when he won the Masters — and reclaimed the No. 1 world ranking from Scheffler.
This Masters had a little bit of everything — hot and humid at the start, a cold front with wind that toppled three trees on Friday, putting surfaces saturated from rain on Saturday and a marathon finish Sunday as Rahm and Koepka went 30 holes.
Koepka helped to pave the way with one miscue after another, losing the lead for the first time since Thursday afternoon when he chipped 20 feet past the hole from behind the par-3 sixth and made his second bogey. There would be more to come.
Worse yet, Koepka went 22 consecutive holes Sunday without a birdie — from the par-5 eighth hole in the morning of the third round until the par-5 13th in final round. By then, he was three shots behind and Rahm all but sealed it with his next shot.
He hit a low cut around a tree from right of the 14th fairway and it caught a slope just right on the 14th green and fed down to 3 feet for a birdie. When Koepka three-putted for bogey, it was a matter of finishing.
Rahm hooked his tee shot into the trees on the final hole and didn’t reach the fairway. No matter. He played up the fairway, hit wedge to 3 feet and tapped in for the victory.
The leaderboard was littered with major champions and a tinge of Saudi-funded LIV Golf. Mickelson and Koepka both are part of the rival circuit. Former Masters champion Patrick Reed, another player who defected to LIV, closed with a 68 and tied for fourth with Jordan Spieth (66) and Russell Henley.
Copyright 2023 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.