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Ludvig Aberg: A new star of European golf steps forward

Ludvig Aberg: A new star of European golf steps forward

By Mathieu Wood

For a player who only joined the professional ranks in June, it is hard to think of many in recent memory who have made quite the impression as Ludvig Aberg has in such a small timeframe.

Only just into his fourth month in the paid ranks, the Swede was being talked up as one of golf’s next big superstars even before his impressive victory at the Omega European Masters on Sunday.

Now, a winner on the DP World Tour, he can look forward to representing Team Europe at the Ryder Cup later this month after receiving one of Luke Donald’s six Captain’s Picks.

Amid the undoubted talent he displayed, it is perhaps his composure that stood out the most in the glistening sun at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.

The 23-year-old, who was Number One in the World Amateur Golf Ranking when he turned professional earlier this year, belied his inexperience to produce a performance that you could only help but be impressed by.

With his win, Aberg has catapulted from 200th in the world rankings to 90th and is inside the top 50 on the Race to Dubai rankings

He had so far finished in a tie for fourth on two occasions, the most recent of which came at last week’s D+D REAL Czech Masters – his first regular start on the DP World Tour.

For many onlookers, talk of a possible Ryder Cup Captain’s Pick seemed premature but the early signs were that he possessed a game and technique that stood up to comparison to many of the best in the world.

But the question remained: how would he fare under the microscope of attention swirling around him in Crans-Montana?

The answer was unequivocal.

After opening the week with a bogey-free six under 64 to sit one shot behind after the first round, he compiled rounds of 67 and 66 over the following two days to leave himself firmly in the reckoning for a breakthrough victory.

He began the final round two shots behind 54-hole leader Matt Fitzpatrick and was three adrift when the 2022 U.S. Open Champion carded his third birdie of the day on the 13th.

But from there, Aberg was flawless. He birdied four holes in a row from the 14th to climb to the summit of the leaderboard and safely negotiated the last in par to card a closing six under 64 to reach 19 under and win by two from countryman Alexander Björk.

Against seasoned campaigners, with Fitzpatrick seeking to emulate Seve Ballesteros as a three-time winner of the event, Aberg had emerged top of the pile.

Reflecting on Aberg’s title-winning efforts, former King of the Mountains Jamie Spence said: “Very impressed. I wanted to see him in the heat of [battle].

“Two fourth-placed finishes [beforehand]. There was talk of him getting a Ryder Cup Captain’s Pick [but] I wasn’t convinced. I am now.”

Andrew Coltart, who played in the 1999 Ryder Cup, added on commentary: “You better believe the hype.”

Victory in the Swiss Alps sees Aberg become the 15th player to claim their maiden DP World Tour title this season.

Shots like his second with a five iron at the par-five 15th and second to kick-in distance at the 17th during the final round suggest it might not be long before he is celebrating a second.

While it is too soon to judge just how far Aberg will go in the game, his temperament – clear for all to see in the biggest moment of his fledgling professional career to date – will certainly be invaluable as the focus on him heightens over the coming days, weeks, months and years.

Asked in his post-round interview whether he believed a first win as a professional would come quite so soon, Aberg replied: “I've always had that belief that I've been able to do it, but to do it is pretty cool.”

Alluding to his calm persona, he added: “I’ve been asked about it (the Ryder Cup) a lot.

“I feel like I’ve done a good job of not letting it affect me too much. I try to just play golf and see where that golf takes me.

“Luckily today, I’m sitting here with a trophy, so it took me quite some way.”

His answer is perhaps no surprise when you consider the name he made for himself in the college ranks at Texas Tech.

During his time there, he won eight times including becoming the first golfer to win back-to-back Big 12 Conference Championship titles in both 2022 and 2023 as he swept the major awards for college golf.

As if that wasn’t enough of an indication of his merits, he also had nine top-10 finishes in his final season in nine starts.

His dominance saw him make history as the first player to secure a PGA TOUR card via collegiate merit, finishing top of the 2023 PGA TOUR University Ranking.

He also won the Ben Hogan Award as the best collegiate player in the United States in 2022 and 2023, becoming the first since Jon Rahm to win the award twice.

Well, later this month, Aberg will tee it up alongside Rahm – a Major Champion and former World Number One – in golf’s greatest event.

The eyes of the sports world will be watching with interest to see how Europe and Aberg fare but on the evidence of what he has shown so far, it would be no surprise to see him seize the chance with the same poise he showed on his way to victory in Switzerland.

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