Well, that was one exciting and rather frustrating Masters weekend. With all the “drama” leading up to last weekend’s Masters event, there were bound to be some fireworks; however, not the kind we were expecting. We almost got there with multiple LIV players finishing in the top 10, but the fireworks we watched were more weather-related blow-ups. We’re talking about three different suspensions in play throughout Friday and Saturday.
Let’s backpedal for a second here and start with the tournament's first round. Thursday was a scorcher, as most players were sweating through their shirts. The heat didn’t stop Victor Hovland or Amateur Sam Bennett, however. Hovland came out firing on all cylinders shooting par, eagle on his first two holes, following three more birdies through the front nine, and two on the back, shooting the day's low score and finishing with a 65 at -7. Hovland held the lead going into the second round; however, he lost it by the end of the second round and ultimately finished the tournament tied for seventh place.
Now if you thought that start was impressive, young Sam Bennett came out firing birdie, and eagle on his first two holes of his first-ever Masters. There were clearly no nerves there for the amateur. Bennett was running on pure adrenaline. From there, he birdied the fourth, then shot par for the rest of his round, finishing with a four-under 68. This adrenaline lasted most of the weekend; however, there is something about Masters Sunday that just gets to you. Bennett ended up finishing the tournament tied for 16th at two under.
Moving from the highs to the lows, Rory McIlroy did not have a great start, missing the cut early by shooting even par on day one and five over day two. Maybe the Green Jacket just isn’t supposed to happen for Rors?
Speaking of the game’s biggest names, Tiger Woods hung on, just making the cut with a very up and down two rounds at plus three for the first two rounds, only to withdraw before the third round due to injury. If you watched The Masters, you could tell Tiger was struggling, and by the 16th hole of the second round, he was clearly in a lot of pain. Tiger says he withdrew due to his plantar fasciitis. Whether that’s true or not, he was noticeably limping more than usual. As much as Tiger is the GOAT, maybe it’s time he calls it?
Moving on to moving day, Brooks Koepka came to play entering moving day with a two-stroke lead over the field and holding onto the lead going into the final round even though he shot one over in round three. We haven’t seen Koepka play like that since 2019 when he finished second at the Masters. Unfortunately, fate would have it; he would fall apart in the fourth round and finish second again. However, this time he tied it with one of his LIV counterparts.
Speaking of LIV counterparts, a few of them crept up the leaderboard making for an exciting round as the pairing of Phil Mickelson and Jordan Speith scored birdie after birdie, putting on a “how to play Augusta” clinic. Mickelson tied with Koepka finishing the tournament at eight under, shooting a 65 on the final day. Speith could have joined him if he didn’t bogey 18, but both players put on an exciting show for us. Someone we have yet to talk about who was considered favourite, especially considering the way he has been playing the last year is Scottie Scheffler the reigning Masters winner. Scheffler was among the top twenty for most of the tournament; however, it was not until Sunday that he really turned it on, moving him up the leaderboard. Even that was not enough to go back-to-back for the Green Jacket. Unfortunately, his putting let him down.
Your 2023 Masters Champion is Jon Rahm, but are we surprised? Rahm has won four tournaments this year and we are only halfway through April. Rahm, who started his tournament with a four-putt on No.1, making a double bogey, didn’t let that affect his game. He turned it around and finished his first round with a 65, leaving him in the top 5 of the leaderboard for most of the tournament. On Masters Sunday, some players that are built for the pressure, and some aren’t. Koepka may not be built for the pressure, but Jon Rahm is. Rahm played a solid round with two birdies on the front and two on the back. He finished the day with a three-under round and won the tournament at 12 under. Jon Rahm finally did it. He won his Green Jacket and is the 2023 Masters Champion! How many more majors has he got in his bag for this year? We will have to wait and see, but we bet he has another in the tank for 2023.
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