Sweden’s Aberg grabs halfway lead at PGA Tour’s RSM Classic

Sweden’s Aberg grabs halfway lead at PGA Tour’s RSM Classic
Sweden’s Aberg grabs halfway lead at PGA Tour’s RSM Classic

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Ludvig Aberg of Sweden hits a tee shot on the 18th hole during the first round of The RSM Classic on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Resort in Georgia November 16, 2023. — Picture by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images via AFP

MIAMI, Nov 18 — Sweden’s Ryder Cup sensation Ludvig Aberg grabbed a one-shot lead at the RSM Classic yesterday, a bogey-free round of six-under putting him in position to strike for a first US PGA Tour title.

A birdie at the 18th hole on the par-70 Seaside Course capped his 64 and pushed Aberg to 11-under 131 — one stroke clear of Americans Denny McCarthy, Sam Ryder and Eric Cole.

Cole shot a 66 on the Seaside course where McCarthy posted a 67 and Ryder fired a seven-under 65 on the par-72 Plantation Course, the other layout in use over the first two rounds of the event.

Aberg and Cole, both in the running for Rookie of the Year honours, are both chasing first tour wins in the tournament that wraps up the FedEx Cup Fall series whose points standings will finalise eligibility for the 2024 PGA Tour season.

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Aberg, who helped Europe to a 16.5-11.5 victory over the United States in the Ryder Cup in Italy in September, delivered another dominant performance off the tee.

“I feel like I’ve been striking the ball quite well, which obviously is nice in the wind, which is quite tricky to kind of maneuver,” Aberg said. “I made a few par putts today, I made some 10-footer-ish for par on number one and then it’s nice to get those momentum putts and to keep the round going a little bit.

“But there’s no guarantees, but if I keep doing what I’m doing today, I like my chances,” said Aberg, who won the European Masters this year but has failed to capitalize when in contention in a few other DP World Tour and PGA Tour events.

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“I’ve been in the lead a few times, and every time you do it, it gets easier,” the 24-year-old said. “Kind of understand what’s going on with your body and your emotions and your mind and try to keep that intact. That’s all I can do. Looking forward to a nice couple of days.”

Cole, the only rookie to make it to the second FedEx Cup Playoffs event, has three top-five finishes in his past four starts.

He overcame a double bogey and a bogey with seven birdies to keep himself in the hunt.

Ryder, meanwhile, had six birdies and an eagle at the par-five 18th against just one bogey to climb the leaderboard. The 33-year-old is hoping for a strong weekend to secure his spots in the tour’s top events next season.

“I’m kind of (on) the bubble for these swing spots to play into these signature events to start the year,” Ryder said. “My goal has been to try and have a good fall and play my way into the first couple signature events ... it’s kept me motivated and kept me driven throughout the fall.” — AFP

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