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Texas Tech’s Aberg is right where he wants to be

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Texas Tech’s Aberg is right where he wants to be

The No. 1 in PGA TOUR University is contending at the Arnold Palmer Invitational



    ORLANDO, Fla. – A trip to Cabo alongside his buddies would have been a nice way for Texas Tech’s Ludvig Aberg to spend a week during his last spring as a college student. But contending at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard isn’t a bad consolation.


    Aberg will begin the weekend at Bay Hill tied for ninth after consecutive rounds of 70. Despite shooting 3-over 39 on his opening nine holes of the tournament, Aberg, the No. 1 player in PGA TOUR University presented by Velocity Global, was just five back of leader Kurt Kitayama after Friday’s morning wave.


    In a nod to tradition, the Arnold Palmer Invitational still has a few of those giant manual scoreboards sprinkled around the golf course. As Aberg peered over on No. 8, his 17th hole of the day, it would have been nearly impossible not to see his name in big block letters. He didn’t miss it, either, which brought a big smile to the face of the Texas Tech senior


    “It was really cool,” said Aberg, who is from Eslov, Sweden, “but I still had No. 8 and No. 9 coming back, so I couldn't really let go. Probably the two toughest holes on the golf course today. I still had to hit a few pretty good golf shots coming in.”


    Ludvig Aberg drains a 24-foot birdie putt at Arnold Palmer


    Aberg, 23, rose to the moment with a couple of good pars to finish his round in the red. He is good at that, and at being clutch. That’s why Aberg is the 2022 Ben Hogan Award winner and has led the PGA TOUR University standings for most of the season. Should Aberg hold on to the top spot, there is a PGA TOUR card awaiting him. Huge. Players finishing Nos. 2-10 after the NCAA Championship will receive status on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2024.


    Aberg is playing on a sponsor exemption this week – late host Arnold Palmer, a former U.S. Amateur champion, always invited amateurs to join his fields. Aberg is bound for classes in Texas next week and will return to Florida for the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor the week after that. Then Aberg will channel his efforts toward helping Texas Tech go as far as the Red Raiders can at the Men’s NCAA Championship.


    Aberg has competed at a handful of professional events, from Bermuda to Dubai, each time getting a little more comfortable, a little more confident. He showed some terrific flashes of his talent on Friday at Bay Hill.


    Early on at the 571-yard 12th hole, which was playing dead downwind, he hit a drive so deep (335 yards) that he had only a 6-iron left into the green. (He struck the shot to 12 feet but missed the eagle.) At the 18th, he missed his tee shot in the thick right rough, which usually means instant bogey or worse. But he pitched out to the fairway, then got down in two from 150 yards to save par.



    “I think that the more of these events you play, the easier it's going to get,” Aberg said. “It gives me a lot of knowledge about myself, because obviously it exposes your game a lot more than a regular event does. We're playing greens that are rolling very fast. Then you got wind and you got a tough golf course. So it teaches you more about your game.


    “I just try to enjoy it, try to embrace it and take in as much as I can.”


    Clearly, he has the game to take it all in, and it should not be long until Aberg is out here doing this full-time.


    Right now, there is a weekend at Bay Hill filled with golf on one of the TOUR’s toughest tracks, and that has earned his attention.



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