Jon Rahm repelled strong competition from Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson in an enthralling final day to triumph at the 2023 Masters at Augusta National.
The Spaniard carded a three-under 69 to finish on 12 under and earn a dominant four-shot victory to claim the Green Jacket and earn his fourth win of 2023, helping him return to the top of the world rankings.
Rahm headed into the final round two shots behind the leader Brooks Koepka in what was a tight race for the lead but early mistakes from the American meant Rahm overtook him to enter the summit of the leaderboard, a lead which Rahm never let go of.
Koepka finished joint second alongside fellow LIV golfer Phil Mickelson, who produced a late charge producing a remarkable seven-under 65 to finish eight under.
Jordan Spieth sunk a bogey on the final hole to record a six-under 66 and finish in fourth with Patrick Reed and Russell Henley.
Rahm became only the fourth Spanish player to win the Masters and his victory was made extra special after it came 40 years after his compatriot, Seve Ballesteros, earned his second Green Jacket.
“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 career major triumph came at the 2021 U.S. 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.”
After arriving at the Masters with his recent victories at LIV events in Miami and Jeddah, Koepka was hoping to collect his first major title but after a solid start to the tournament entering the lead, Koepka could not keep up with Rahm after the Spaniard leapfrogged him to the top of the leaderboard.
“I didn’t play that great,” Koepka said speaking to Sky Sports. “I hit some good shots and just ended up in some terrible spots. Then at the end trying to make birdies when he’s ahead – it’s tough.
“Second is not very fun so that’s motivation in itself.”
While fellow LIV golfer and three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson rolled back the years with his performance on the final day with a stunning run of five birdies in the final seven holes which helped the 52-year-old claimed a joint-second finish.
“This is as much fun as I could possibly have playing golf,” he said.
“The final round of the Masters and to play the way I did and finish with a couple of birdies, regardless of the outcome, it has been a fun day.
“I’m grateful to be here and compete, to be part of this great championship and to play how I did was extra special.”