Rahm Beats Koepka, Lefty by Four Strokes to Claim the 87th Masters

Jon Rahm of Spain was wearing green shoes, so he simply earned The Green Jacket to match.

The 28-year-old Rahm won his second major title by closing with a three-under-par 69 and captured the 87th Masters by four strokes over Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.

Rahm, who will regain the No. 1 spot in the World Golf Rankings, became the fourth Spaniard to win the first major of the year, joining the late Seve Ballesteros (1980, 1983), Jose Maria Olazabal (1994, 1999) and Sergio Garcia (2017).

“It’s just amazing to win on Seve’s birthday, the 40th anniversary of his last Masters victory and Easter Sunday,” said Rahm, who was greeted behind the final green by Olazabal after claiming the 11th victory of his PGA Tour career and 20th as a professional. “I’m almost at a total loss for words right now because of all that. Seve is the history of the game and one of the reasons I play. I know he was pulling for me today.

“I didn’t play great today, but I was solid. The birdie on No. 8 was important and then after I made that bogey on the next hole, it was important that I play well through Amen Corner, and I did that. I saw on the leaderboard that Phil and Jordan Spieth were playing well behind me, so I had to keep playing steady. Brooks unfortunately didn’t have his best stuff today.

“This just feels so good, but I’m not done. I want to get a few more of these.”

Rahm, who finished off a third-round 73 in the morning after weather delays the previous two days, had three birdies to go with that single bogey in his 69 and recorded a winning score of 12-under-par 276.

Koepka, who was at least tied for the lead after each of the first three rounds, was four strokes ahead at 13-under-par when the players returned to finish round three in the morning, but struggled the rest of the day with a 73 in the third and a final-round 75 that included only three late birdies.

“I just kind of played average, or even worse,” said Koepka, who won the U.S. Open in 2017 and 2018, and the PGA Championship in 2018 and 2019, but has battled knee injuries since. “I just didn’t get any breaks. I hit some pretty good shots that ended up in bad places, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

“Some days you have it and some days you don’t, and obviously I didn’t have what it takes today. I told Jon to go and enjoy it, because it’s a great experience when you win a major championship. I just didn’t play well enough to win.

“But this was a good experience and I’ll be back. There are three more majors this year.”

Mickelson, 52, a three-time Masters champion and six-time major champion, birdied five of the last seven holes for a 65, but never got closer to Rahm than three strokes down the stretch. Still, Lefty posted the best finish by a player over 50 in Masters history.

Spieth, the 2015 Masters champion, collected nine birdies in a 66 to finish five down in a tie for fourth with Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters winner, who had eight birdies in a 68, and Russell Henley, who made three early birdies en route to a 70.

Ninth-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway made only two birdies in a 74 and slipped to six shots back in a tie for seventh with Cameron Young, the 2021-22 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, who eagled No. 13 in a 68, while Sahith Theegala of Chino Hills and Pepperdine was one more behind in solo ninth following a 67 that included seven birdies.

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler, the defending champion, made four birdies on the front nine in a 70 and finished eight strokes back in a tie for 10th with seventh-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State, who had a second straight 71, Matt Fitzpatrick of England, who made four birdies in a 70, and Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal, who made two birdies on each nine in another 72.

Fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA struggled to a 75 and tied for 14th, sixth-ranked Cameron Smith of Australia tied for 34th after another 75, and fifth-ranked Max Homa of Valencia and Cal tied for 48th after an ugly 78.

Five-time Masters champion Tiger Woods, who noticeably was struggling on his ailing right leg during the day before, withdrew on Sunday morning before the third round  was re-started.

For complete results, visit: https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard     

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