Jon Rahm rallies to become fourth Spaniard to win The Masters

by Jacob Fuller

Rob Issa, FISM News

Jon Rahm rallied on a marathon Sunday at the Masters and walked away with the green jacket, becoming the fourth Spaniard to win the tournament.

The 28-year-old Rahm shot a 69 in the final round, which included four birdies, to finish at 12-under par. Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson finished tied for second at 8-under.

Rahm joins Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal, and the late Seve Ballesteros as Masters champions from Spain. It’s Rahm’s second major championship to go along with the U.S. Open title he won in 2021.

“We all dream of things like this as players, and you try to visualize what it’s going to be like and what it’s going to feel like,” Rahm said.

Never thought I was going to cry by winning a golf tournament, but I got very close on that 18th hole. And a lot of it because of what it means to me, and to Spanish golf. It’s Spain’s 10th major, fourth player to win the Masters. It’s pretty incredible.

Mickelson, who became the oldest runner-up at the Masters ever at age 52, had predicted Rahm’s success long before he became the world No. 1. Rahm played golf at Arizona State for Mickelson’s younger brother, Tim.

“It was obvious to me at a very young age that he was one of the best players in the world even while he was in college,” Phil Mickelson said. “To see him on this stage is not surprising for anybody.”

Wind, rain, and a fallen tree Saturday forced a longer day on Sunday. Rahm opened Easter Sunday trailing Koepka by four shots and remained four behind after the third round concluded.

But he pulled away while Koepka struggled. Koepka shot 3-over on the front nine and finished with a final round 75.

“Obviously it’s super disappointing, right? Didn’t play good enough to win,” he said. “Hit some shots where I also didn’t feel like I got some good breaks. … Didn’t feel like I did too much wrong but that’s how golf goes sometimes.”

SCHEFFLER, WOODS STRUGGLE

Defending Masters champ Scottie Scheffler finished tied for 10th after a week of poor putting.

“The first two days, I putted just awful,” Scheffler said. “It was one of those weird situations where my good ones weren’t going in and then my bad ones definitely weren’t going in.”

He pulled within four shots of the lead on No. 11 Sunday but faded the rest of the way.

Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, and Russell Henley tied for fourth. Tiger Woods withdrew before the third round resumed Sunday because of a foot injury.

Woods, a five-time Masters champion, had extended his streak of making the cut in Augusta to 23 straight, tying Fred Couples and Gary Player for the longest in history.

“I am disappointed to have to WD (withdraw) this morning due to reaggravating my plantar fasciitis,” Woods said on Twitter. “Thank you to the fans and to @TheMasters who have shown me so much love and support. Good luck to the players today!”

Rahm was overlooked by bigger storylines entering the tournament. Much of the focus centered on Scheffler, Woods, and Rory McIlroy but Rahm proved he belongs atop the rankings by becoming the first European player to win both the Masters and U.S. Open. Rahm has won six times and finished in the top 10 in 11 of 14 starts since the 2022 Tour Championship.

“If there’s anything better than accomplishing something like this, it’s making history,” Rahm said.

First European ever to do that, hard to explain. Out of all the accomplishments and the many great players that have come before me, to be the first to do something like that, it’s a very humbling feeling. … It is a pretty good duo of majors. The U.S. Open is about as hard a test as you’re ever going to find. To come somewhere where I’ve been comfortable. I kept seeing the stats, the lowest score to par out of two starts and how great I’ve done here in the past but never gave myself a chance to win. All I asked for was a chance, and I got it.

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