Rising star Aberg grabs first PGA Tour title at RSM Classic
Ludvig Aberg closed out a sensational rookie season with his first US PGA Tour title.
MIAMI (AFP) – Sweden's Ludvig Aberg closed out a sensational rookie season with his first US PGA Tour title on Sunday, firing a nine-under-par 61 for a four-shot victory over Mackenzie Hughes in the RSM Classic.
The 24-year-old, who turned pro in June, started the final round on the Seaside course at St. Simons Island, Georgia, with a one-shot lead and barely put a foot wrong, grabbing 10 birdies with one bogey for a 29-under-par total of 253.
Aberg cemented his rising star status, which had been building with a victory in the DP World Tour's European Masters and a stellar performance in Europe's Ryder Cup victory over the United States in Italy in September.
"It's kind of beyond my dreams," Aberg said after birdies at three of the last four holes. "It's really cool. To first off play on the PGA Tour, I have a lot of people to thank for that. It's been so much fun, six months that I'll never forget.
"This is what you dream of as a kid. This is the sport that I love and the sport that I'm going to love for a very long time. Watching these events from a very young age is what I've done so to see myself win is really cool."
The victory will move Aberg into the top 50 in the world rankings and give him entry to next year's Masters at Augusta National, which will be his first appearance in a major championship.
"If you told me this a couple of months ago I would not have believed you," he said.
Aberg launched his round with an 11-foot birdie at the first hole, then added birdies at the fourth fifth and sixth.
Another trio of birdies at the ninth, 10th and 11th boosted his lead, and after his lone miscue of the day at 12 he birdied 15, 17 and 18 coming in.
Hughes, a two-time PGA Tour winner, said that after seeing Aberg up close he believes the "sky's the limit" for the young Swede.
"He's kind of the modern day player," Hughes said, pointing to Aberg's birdie at the par-four fifth, where he drove the green and two-putted.
"Super impressive shot to not only hit it long but to hit that straight," said Hughes, who had seven birdies in his seven-under 63 to grab second on 257, three shots in front of Tyler Duncan and Eric Cole.
"It's hard to sit here and be disappointed," Hughes said. "To shoot 70-63 Saturday-Sunday, you lose to 61-61."
Cole started the day one adrift, but two early bogeys proved too much to overcome for the US rookie who added five birdies in a three-under par 67. Duncan closed with a 65.
"Didn't get off to a great start today," Cole said. "When (Aberg) was playing as well as he was, it's going to be hard to catch him."