Published: Fri, April 07, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Rahm inspired by Ballesteros on Masters debut

Rahm inspired by Ballesteros on Masters debut

Jon Rahm says fellow Spaniard Seve Ballesteros, the late golfing legend who would have turned 60 on Sunday, will be watching over him as he competes in his first Masters. An emotional player, Rahm said controlling his emotions will be key to being in the hunt come Sunday at Augusta.

Paired up with Tanihara and Irish man Rory McIlroy, Rahm has endeared the United States media with the frankness of opinion. "If I didn't think I could win the tournament, I wouldn't be here", he said.

"The year I was born, Olazabal won his first Masters".

2015 champion Jordan Spieth will be looking for redemption after his Sunday meltdown past year, and he's part of an exciting group which also contains twice major victor Martin Kaymer and Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick, who finished in a tie for seventh in just his second appearance at the tournament 12 months ago.

That success booked a return to Augusta for the first time since 2009 and although two attempts to date have not yielded better that a T45, a resurgent Perez looks set to take full advantage of this opportunity.

The 22-year-old won the Farmers Insurance Open and finished second behind world number one Dustin Johnson in the WGC Dell Matchplay to put himself in contention to become the first player to win on his Augusta debut since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. "I know he'll be out for the entire week but hopefully on Sunday he can make a special present". "And then Jon Rahm, I haven't played with him competitively". Obviously this is different. I am going to tee up believing that I can win. I know the first tee-shot I'm going to be really, really pumped up, so I don't know how it's going to go.

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The former world No 1 amateur, who finished runner-up at the World Matchplay last month, is aiming to become the first rookie victor of the tournament for 38 years and he believes he will have his fellow Spaniard in his corner at Augusta.

But he had to come back in the match after messing up the first nine holes because he failed to master his nerves. Tiger and Jordan Spieth both were 21 when they got their first green jackets.

Rahm's achievements could eventually be off the charts but it is still very early days in his Masters career and I think he will have to be bang on the money to reward favourite backers against Garcia. It might take one hole or two holes but I want it to go away as soon as possible.

"That's what I'm trying to focus on".

"I learned that when I am playing good, I can take on the number one player in the world", he said.

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