Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg capped an impressive rookie season with his first US PGA Tour title on Sunday, carding a nine-under 61 for a four-shot victory over Mackenzie Hughes at the RSM Classic.
The 24-year-old, who turned pro in June, started the final round at the Seaside circuit on the island of St. Simons of Georgia, with a lead and just put his foot wrong, grabbing 10 birdies with one bogey for a 29-under total of 253.
Aberg cemented his rising stardom, which had been building with a win at the DP World Tour European Masters and a stunning performance in Europe’s Ryder Cup victory over the United States in Italy in September.
“It’s beyond my wildest dreams,” Aberg said after birdies three of the last four holes. “It’s really great. To play on the PGA Tour first, I have a lot of people to thank for that. It’s been so much fun, six months I’ll never forget.
“This is what you dream about as a kid. This is the sport I love and the sport I’ll love for a long time. Watching these events from a very young age is what I’ve done to see myself winning is pretty cool.”
The win would move Aberg into the top 50 in the world rankings and give him entry to next year’s Masters at Augusta National, his first appearance at a major championship.
“If you’d told me this a few months ago, I wouldn’t have believed you,” he said.
Aberg started his round with an 11-foot birdie on the first hole, then added birdies on the fourth, fifth and sixth.
Another trio of birdies at the ninth, 10th and 11th extended his lead, and after his only mistake of the day at 12, he bogeyed the 15th, 17th and 18th.
Hughes, a two-time PGA Tour winner, said after seeing Aberg in person he believes “the sky’s the limit” for the young Swede.
“He’s kind of the modern player,” Hughes said, pointing to Amberg’s birdie putt at the par-five, where he drove the green and the two-putt.
“Super impressive shot not only to hit it long but to hit it straight,” said Hughes, who had seven birdies in a seven-under 63 to take second at 257, three shots ahead 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 61-61.”
Cole started the day on par, but two early bogeys proved too much for the US rookie who added five birdies to a three-under 67. Duncan closed with a 65.
“I didn’t start well today,” Cole said. “When (Aberg) was playing as well as he was, he’s going to be hard to catch.”
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