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Sunday May 26th

The Masters recap: Jon Rahm wins the 89th Masters and captures his second major

Jon Rahm on the path to winning this year's Masters (Photo Courtesy of Tweet BaBa/Flickr).
Jon Rahm on the path to winning this year's Masters (Photo Courtesy of Tweet BaBa/Flickr).

By Joey Bachich
Staff Writer

Rahm wins at Augusta

After four-putting on the first hole of the tournament, going from +2 to start the weekend to ending -12 winning the entire tournament by four shots is an incredible Masters run for Rahm. Thursday, April 6th, ended up being a great day for Rahm after a horrible first hole, ending -7 with a tie for the lead with Viktor Hovland and LIV star Brooks Koepka. After a few days of wet weather, stoppages, wind and a fallen tree, Sunday started with four players within five shots of the lead and Rahm sitting at -9, only behind the leader Koepka, who was sitting two shots ahead at -11. Rahm slammed the door on the field when he hit back to back birdies on the 13th and 14th holes and jumped to -3 on the round, which was enough to see him finish at -12, four strokes better than second place. 

Rahm’s powerhouse status

Jon Rahm is inevitable. Throughout the weekend, there was a feeling that Rahm would not go down quietly, but battle and claw his way up to first and secure his second major title. He is absolutely red hot and he has a solid chance at winning another major this year with his consistency of play that we have seen this year so far. Rahm is like the boogeyman to every golfer who is leading going into Sunday, April 9th. They do not know when, they do not know how, but Jon Rahm will be hunting down that top spot at every event this season, so watch out. 

Brooks Koepka falls short 

Koepka had an incredible first two days at the Masters before play was suspended halfway through the third round and was continued in the morning on Sunday, April 9th.. Up until that stoppage, Koepka looked to have a runaway victory to assert himself winning his fifth major. Brooks was ahead up until the suspension of play in round 3. In those last 30 holes after play resumed Sunday morning, Koepka shot a +5 and fell out of the lead and ended up tied for second place overall. Koepka showed everyone that, even if he is on the LIV tour, he is still one of the best golfers on the planet and should be a formidable opponent in the next few majors. 

LIV golfers make a statement led by Koepka and Mickelson 

LIV CEO Greg Norman should be smiling ear to ear after looking at the leaderboard at the Masters as we saw Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka finish tied for second. Mickelson has been pretty pedestrian on the LIV tour, but he came to play at the Masters. Through three rounds, Mickelson was around the top 20, but was not seen as a major player on Sunday. He then shot an incredible -7 on the day and ended the weekend -8, tied with Koepka for second. Patrick Reed finished tied for fourth at -7, Joaquin Niemann finished at -2 tied for 16th after a tough final two rounds following a hot start, and Harold Varner III finished at +1 tied for 29th. Not a bad day for LIV having two guys in the top 3, but the big names such as Dustin Johnson (+8) and Cam Smith (+4) both didn't have a great tournament. Next major should be littered with more LIV vs. PGA storylines and may even end with a LIV player getting a win for the young brand. 

Tiger Woods withdraws with planters fasciitis  

Tiger Woods withdrew from the tournament after making the cut early in the third round with foot problems, which have been an issue for the past few years after a car accident and multiple surgeries. Between his back, ankle and foot, it was difficult for Tiger not to limp around the hilly course after the rainfall — it was just too painful to walk the rest of the tournament. Woods did not have a stellar couple of rounds, barely making the cut after round two. The putter let him down during the two rounds, missing some awkward distanced putts, but he was solid off the tee. It is hard to watch Tiger now with him limping constantly. The good news is that his golf is still good, but his physical limitations might shorten his career, hinting that this might be his last Masters depending on if his body allows him to play. 

Rory McIlroy misses the cut at the course he wants to concur 

The Masters is the last major tournament that McIlroy needs to win to complete the major grand slam (win all of the majors one time). He ended his tournament at +5 and was cut after having a second place finish last year. He was battling all day the first day, ending with an even par after one double bogie, three bogies and five birdies. Round two was where it all fell apart for him, when he ended up hitting a +5 with seven bogies and just two birdies. His weakness on the weekend was not the different putter or new driver set up, but it was actually his chipping and approach play. To put these woes into perspective, the field was around 60% in hitting the green in two shots or less. McIlroy was down at 50% in his second round. He was also inconsistent at times with his driver. When he would miss a fairway, it was by a large margin often deep into the trees. He looks onward where he usually heats up in the middle to late summer, but he is still chasing the green jacket that he has yet to win.

Other notable players and storylines 

Cameron Young (-6) had a great tournament finishing tied for seventh where his driver looked absolutely dialed in and looks to be one of the best long ball hitters for years to come. Viktor Hovland (-6) was also tied for seventh after having a really great start and was at one point tied for the lead before having some inconsistencies late in his chipping, which is a part of his game where he is always underperforming. Last year's winner Scottie Scheffler (-4) ended tenth and for him, that is a disappointing round, which is a testament to how great he has been over the past two years. The Texas A&M amateur Sam Bennett (-2) stole headlines after his amazing run, shooting an incredible -8 after two rounds, which had him second at some points during the weekend. Play was stopped a few times during the weekend due to weather which put a damper (literally and figuratively) on the event, but one of the trending topics was how one of the near 20 foot pine trees fell near spectators right before the suspension of play was called on Friday. Gladly no one was injured, but it is one of the weirdest moments in Masters history. 

Final thoughts

Predictions last week could have gone a little smoother with two of the “disappointments” finishing in the top two, but that is golf: the game is unpredictable. Sunday was incredible, with old players like Mickelson having a great round and having Rahm and Koepka be close for most of the day had many viewers glued to the TV on Easter Sunday. A ton of big events are coming up for the PGA in late April and early May, including the Mexico Open and the Wells Fargo Championship. The next major is the PGA Championship, starting May 18th, where Justin Thomas looks to defend his title after having a difficult start to the year.


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