The birthday of the late Seve Ballesteros brought further Spanish success at Augusta National as the Aussie brigade struggled through a gruelling final day at The Masters.
On the 40th anniversary of Ballesteros’s second Masters’ win and on the day he would have turned 66, Jon Rahm became the fourth Spaniard to be awarded the green jacket with a near flawless final round of three-under 69.
The 2021 US Open champion was forced to play a provisional from the tee of the 72nd hole but found his first tee shot and made a superb up-and-down from short of the green to close out a four-stroke win from Brooks Koepka (75) and 51-year-old Phil Mickelson (65), who made history as the oldest player to finish top-five at The Masters.
On a day in which many players had to first complete their third rounds, Jason Day shaped as Australia’s best chance of victory on the anniversary of Adam Scott’s win in 2013.
The 35-year-old played the final 11 holes of his second round in one-over par for a total of two-over 74.
That saw him start Round 4 at three-under and eight strokes off the lead, a two-putt birdie at the par-5 second bringing him one shot closer and just outside the top 10.
A bogey at the par-4 seventh after missing the fairway left saw Day drop to a tie for 17th at three-under before the 2015 US PGA champion endured a horror final 10 holes.
A four-putt double bogey on the par-4 ninth would be the first of four doubles in the space of five holes, a birdie from 13 feet on the 72nd hole cold consolation for a closing eight-over 80 and tie for 39th.
Adam Scott birdied two of his final three holes to also finish in a tie for 39th at five-over par, Cameron Smith taking the honour as leading Aussie with a three-over 75 and tie for 34th at four-over.
One-under for the championship when play began on Sunday morning, Smith made bogey on the 14th hole of his second round and dropped a further shot at 18 to be one-over through 54 holes.
He started his final round with a bogey at the par-4 10th and made the turn in two-over following bogeys at 17 and 18.
A brilliant wedge into the par-4 third set up birdie but a bogey at five and double bogey at six ended any hopes of pushing into the upward areas of the leaderboard.
Making his Masters debut, Kiwi Ryan Fox left Augusta National as the best of the Australasian players, battling through fatigue and illness to make it a week he will never forget.
“If you’d have given me even-par at the start of the week and play four rounds, I would have been pretty dang happy,” said Fox, who was tied for 26th.
“I feel like I left a little bit out there. I think this golf course, the more you play it, the more you figure it out
“I definitely hit some wrong shots out there. No matter how much you practice to some of these pins, when you actually see them, it’s very different.
“Hopefully I get another crack at it in the next few years and can learn from this experience. Regardless, it’s been an awesome one.”
1 Jon Rahm 65-69-73-69—276
T26 Ryan Fox (NZ) 70-71-74-73—288
T34 Cameron Smith 70-72-75-75—292
T39 Adam Scott 68-74-77-74—293
T39 Jason Day 67-72-74-80—293
MC Min Woo Lee 75-75—150
MC Harrison Crowe (a) 75-77—152
AGIC report reveals total annual benefits to the Australian community, economy and environment from golf.