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Ludvig Åberg goes low as Masters rookies continue to shine

Ludvig Åberg goes low as Masters rookies continue to shine

Ludvig Åberg carded the lowest round of an incredibly testing day two at the Masters Tournament as a trio of debutants continued to impress at Augusta National Golf Club.

Ludvig Åberg

Åberg, Nicolai Højgaard and Matthieu Pavon may not be your regular rookies, with DP World Tour, PGA TOUR and Ryder Cup wins under their collective belts, but Augusta is famed as a layout where familiarity is your friend.

That is backed up by the fact that no player has won on their first appearance since Fuzzy Zoeller 45 years ago but Åberg, Højgaard and Pavon were all well placed to break that run.

Åberg only turned professional in June but already has wins on the DP World Tour and PGA TOUR and was handed a Captain's Pick for Europe's triumphant Ryder Cup team last autumn.

A 69 on what many long-term observers have called one of the toughest days in Masters history moved him to two under and assured he had only missed one cut so far in the paid ranks.

"It was not easy but I felt like I played pretty good," he said. "I especially read the greens very well and hit the putts the way I wanted to.

"I think to get a score in today, I felt like that's probably what you almost have to do.

"Just keep the ball in front of me. Try to be in the now as much as I can, try not to get too ahead of myself.

"All I'm trying to do is really enjoy it. It's my first time here at Augusta National. It's a privilege to be here and play this event and that's what I'm trying to do for the rest of the week."

Højgaard was two shots better off than Ryder Cup team-mate Åberg despite a 73, having started the week with a 67 that equalled the best first-round score by a European on debut.

He shared the lead at six under before dropping shots on the 17th and 18th and was looking forward to the weekend.

“I would love to play 17 and 18 again,” he said. “I don’t feel like I hit a bad shot on the last two holes. Maybe the tee shot on 17, but the second shot felt decent and I ended up in a really bad spot.

“That’s part of it. It’s major golf. It has to be tricky, and it is really, really tricky out there. I’m enjoying the challenge. There’s a lot to look forward to on the weekend.

“I felt like I managed my game really well today, even though I didn’t strike it properly. I felt like I was a bit all over the place, but kind of putted myself around, which was quite good to see."

Pavon won his first DP World Tour event at the 185th time of asking last season and since earning Dual Membership with the PGA TOUR has gone on to win on that side of the Atlantic.

After an opening 70, he carded a 73 in the wind and revealed it was not like anything he had experienced before.

"That was a tough test," he said. "It was really different than two days out with Shane on Monday and Tuesday having fun and betting some money for sure.

"I've never played something like that. You have to think on every shot you're going to play, where you want to put the ball. Every kind of downhill putts are really scary. I made some mistakes, got caught a few times. It is really a tough test.

"The only thing you can really do is just embrace it and try to do your best out there."

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