Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Åberg all class in matching a Swedish best at The Masters – Irish Golfer Magazine

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It speaks volumes how far Ludvig Åberg has come in such a short time that only a year ago he was ranked a lowly 905th in the world.

Now after his stunning second place finish in a maiden career major championship the Swedish golfer finds himself inside the top-10 on the official world rankings as the new World No. 7 following his brilliant showing at Augusta National.

The 24-year-old’s effort behind Scottie Scheffler in the 88th Masters is the joint best finish by a Swedish-born player at Augusta National since countryman Jonas Blixt finished joint second behind Bubba Watson at the 2012 Masters.

Indeed, there was a point during Sunday’s final round when Aberg led the Masters that immediately boosted hopes of the young Swede joining countryman Henrik Stenson as only a second male golfer to win a major championship.

It wasn’t to be, however Aberg could stand far taller than his already lofty 1.9 metres (6 feet 3 inches) frame following rounds of 73, 69, 70 and a closing 69 for his seven-under tally, and also endearing himself especially to TV viewers with some really hilarious expressions on his face throughout the final day’s play.

Aberg announced himself to the golfing world in the first week of September 2023 in capturing the Omega European Masters and then a fortnight later he shared 10th place in the BMW PGA Championship.

His win in the Swiss Alps and a top-10 at Tour HQ  tipped the scales in his favour for European Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald to extend Aberg a Rome ‘wildcard’ pick and despite some controversy over his selection ahead of Pole Adrian Merouk, Aberg delivered earning two points towards Europe’s emphatic five point triumph over the hapless Americans at Marco Simone.

Aberg returned to regular competition brilliantly picking-up from where he had left off, and with his PGA Tour card in his back pocket he was runner-up in the Sanderson Farms Championship ahead of a T13th and T10th place ahead of sensationally breaking through Stateside to capture the RSM Classic by four shots at Sea Island, Georgia.

Aberg’s maiden Masters invitation was doubly assured as the victory lifted him inside the world’s top-50 to the then World No. 37.

A New Year dawned and the now ultra-talented Aberg just got better and better producing a T9th at the Farmers Insurance Open and backed that up with a second at the AT & T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.   An eighth place finish at The Players sent Aberg to No. 9 in the world and now after a second runner’s up finish in his eight events this year he’s now No. 7.

“First of all, playing here at Augusta National is a dream come true”, he responded when asked of his experience in competing in a maiden Masters.

“Just to be in this situation and feel the nerves and feel the pressure walking down the last couple holes is what you dream of. This is what I have been wanting to do for such a long time, and it’s quite surreal to actually have the opportunity to experience it. But I’m so proud of me, myself and all of the people on my team and my family and everyone involved”.

And that question led to a next question when quizzed if he could believe he had played so well.

“I think as a competitor, you should expect those things from yourself, and that’s the same with me”, said Aberg.

“I felt like coming into this week, I felt like I was playing well and I was swinging the way I wanted to.

“But, you know, there’s so much more to golf. There’s a lot of things that need to come together, and I felt like we did a lot of golf stuff the last couple of weeks. We’ve been working on a few things, me and my team, my coaches.

“And it’s nice to see that kind of come through on this stage and to know that I’m able to pull off a certain amount of shots and hit the putts the way I want to, and it’s just very encouraging and I want to do it again and again I think”.

Of course, next up for Aberg in May 16th commencing PGA Championship at Valhalla in suburban Louisville, Kentucky and a championship that fellow Scandinavian Viktor Hovland finished joint runner-up a year ago at Oak Hills in upstate New York.

“The Swedes and Scandinavians are doing quite well in sports”, said Aberg. “We’re quite similar in terms of our, you know, culture in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland. We are quite similar. We work pretty hard, and I guess we are just having some success in sports.

“Now after this week being my first major championship, you never really know what it’s going to be like until you’re there and experience it. I think this week has given me a lot of experiences and a lot of lessons learned in terms of those things.

“It makes me really hungry, and it makes me want to do it again and again”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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