ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Mark Hubbard missed the cut this week at the RSM Classic and hasn’t been paired with Swedish sensation Ludvig Aberg yet on the PGA Tour, but he’s seen enough between the range, television and his performance at the Ryder Cup and during the FedEx Cup Fall to know this: “He’s going to be a problem for us for a long time,” Hubbard said.
Aberg was a big problem for the field at the final event of the PGA Tour’s 2022-23 wraparound season, shooting 9-under 61 on Sunday at Sea Island Resort’s Seaside Course to win by four strokes over Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes.
Aberg, who won in September on the DP World Tour, claimed his first PGA Tour title with a four-round total of 29-under 253, which tied the lowest 72-hole total in Tour history.
“Just had the best week of my life,” Aberg said doing a post-victory social media video. During his winner’s press conference, he added, “I still pinch myself in the morning when I wake up to realize that this is what I do for a job. It’s been so much fun. These experiences that I’ve had over the last six months has been beyond my dreams and I’ll never forget it.”
PGA Tour records set or tied this week by Ludvig Aberg:
– Ties lowest 72-hole total ever (253)
– Lowest 54-hole score ever (rounds 2-4, 186)
– Ties lowest 36-hole total ever (122)
– Lowest score over final 2 rounds ever
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) November 19, 2023
The superlatives for the job he’s done over the last several months since turning pro in May have made him blush. Peter Hanson, a Swedish golfer who won six times on the DP World Tour, recalled playing two events with Aberg as an amateur in 2018, and credited the four years Aberg spent at Texas Tech as critical to shaping his early success. Hanson has been coaching Aberg for the last year and half and witnessed the victory in person on Sunday.
“He always told me, ‘I want to be ready,’ ” Hanson said. “But ready for Ludvig meant to be ready not to compete but to win. He wanted to be this good right away and measure himself against the best.”
Aberg, 24, turned pro after the NCAA Championship as the top-ranked amateur in the world, having swept college golf’s three player-of-the-year awards and became the first player to earn Tour membership through PGA Tour University and has taken to pro golf like a fish to water. European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald, who selected him as one of his captain’s picks, tabbed Aberg a generational player while Rory McIlroy said, “I was on the bandwagon before. Certainly at the front of it now.”
Sweden’s Alex Noren played nine holes with Aberg at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and it didn’t take long to realize Aberg had prodigious talent.
“You see it right away. Yeah, it’s good, it’s strong,” he said. “He’s got some lucky genes as well. He’s a tall, strong boy…it’s a strong game, uncomplicated and he seems like a very sort of realistic person that just goes about it in a smart way. I think that’s maybe unique for being so young. He seems very impressive I think all around.” Added Hughes: “He’s the whole package.”
In just his fourth start as a PGA Tour pro, Aberg earned a top-10 finish. Two months later, he notched his first pro win, making four birdies in his final five holes to shoot 64 and claim the Omega European Masters in Switzerland. The Ryder Cup phenom had done just about everything except win on the PGA Tour and took care of that by shooting the lowest score over the final two rounds by a winner: 61-61.
“It’s one of those tournaments where you finish up and you feel like you didn’t lose the tournament, you just got beat,” said Hughes, who finished with 60-63.
Aberg entered the final round with a one-stroke lead and pulled away with six birdies in an eight-hole stretch starting at the fourth hole. Hughes did his best to apply some pressure, carding six birdies in his first 10 holes and briefly trimmed Aberg’s lead to one stroke on the front nine. But Aberg barely flinched on Sunday – though he did make his first bogey of the tournament at No. 12, snapping a streak of 65 consecutive holes this week and 85 straight holes going back to his previous start without a bogey. Of the right-to-left 26-foot birdie putt that snapped into the hole at 17 and gave him a 3-stroke cushion, Aberg said it was the shot he’ll always remember.
“I think I’m going to sleep well on that one,” he said.