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

Spain’s Jon Rahm kept his nerve and patience to win a first Masters, swinging an exciting final day in his favour from American Brooks Koepka.

Rahm, 28, carded a three-under 69 to finish on 12 under and win by four shots as Koepka, who led by two going into the final round, signed for a 75.

Koepka ended joint second with veteran Phil Mickelson, who shot a a stunning seven-under 65 to finish eight under.

Former champions Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed were a shot further back.

Defending champion Scottie Scheffler finished in a group on four under, along with England’s US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, who was the highest finisher from Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Rahm became the fourth Spanish player to win the Masters and his victory poignantly came on what would have been the 66th birthday of the legendary two-time champion Seve Ballesteros, who won 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,” said Rahm, whose first major win came at the 2021 US Open.

“History of the game is a big reason why I play and Seve is a big part of that history.

“For me to get it done on the 40th anniversary of his second Masters win and on his birthday was incredibly meaningful.”

How Rahm took control to win Green Jacket

Rahm was one of the pre-tournament favourites – alongside Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, who missed the halfway cut, and world number one Scheffler – after an impressive year in the lead-up to the first men’s major of the season.

With three wins on the PGA Tour this year, plus four top-10 finishes in six previous Masters starts, Rahm had the form and previous pedigree to win at Augusta – and he duly delivered.

Remarkably, he started his bid on Thursday with a double bogey after a four-putt on the first hole. After that he barely made a wrong move.

Rahm showed all facets of his outstanding all-round game – particularly his relentlessly huge driving and nerveless putting – to record an opening round of 65 and then posting scores of 69, 73 and 69.

Not only did Rahm win the iconic Green Jacket for the first time, he also returned to the world number one ranking.

Leading by four shots with four holes left to play, he maintained that advantage going into the 18th hole and could even afford to hit his final drive into the trees.

The ball ended up bouncing back into play and landing 150 yards from the tee, but he retained composure to lay up and knock a sublime chip to within a few feet for an unorthodox par.

“It was a very unusual par, very much a Seve par – it was in a non purposeful way, a testament to him. I know he was pulling for me and it was a great Sunday,” added the 28-year-old.

“This one is for Seve. I knew he would be up there helping and help he did.”

After sinking his final putt, Rahm shook his clenched fists while looking up to the sky.

His family – wife Kelley, along with two sons Kepa and Eneko – quickly joined him on the 18th green before he was congratulated further by friends and family.

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

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Kesh Awefada

Kesh Awefada

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