PGA Tour rookie Ludvig Åberg has yet to make a bogey in two rounds of play at the RSM Classic.
Following his first-round 67, he carded a 6-under 64 on the Seaside course to hold a one-shot lead at 11-under.
On Friday, Åberg took advantage of the soft conditions, and while the wind was still blowing hard, the 24-year-old was dynamite.
“I feel like I’ve been striking the ball quite well, which obviously is nice in the wind, which is quite tricky to maneuver,” he said. “I made a few par putts today. I made some 10-footer-ish for par on 1, and then it’s nice to get those momentum putts and to keep the round going a little bit. There’s no guarantees, but if I keep doing what I’m doing today, I like my chances.”
Åberg is No. 3 in strokes gained total at 3.8. He is picking up almost four shots on the field after two days of play. The Swede also picked up nearly three strokes from the green alone, having missed just four greens in regulation across two rounds.
The former Texas Tech Red Raider is also No. 3 in strokes gained off the tee at 1.7 and No. 2 in driving distance. He drove the green on the par-4 5th to fire up the momentum and make his first of six birdie putts on the day,
“I like to see myself as an aggressive player, but I’ll just play the course, and if it makes sense to hit driver, I’ll do it; if not, I’ll just lay back a little bit,” Åberg said.
He made two more in a row after that birdie on the fifth hole. He then drained two more birdies on 11 and 13. The Swedish golfer closed his round with his final birdie on the 18th to sign for a 64.
That earned him a one-shot lead ahead of Eric Cole, Sam Ryder and Dennis McCarthy.
It seems like every week he plays, the No. 53 player in the world is on the first page of the leaderboard. He tied for fourth place at the John Deere Classic early this season.
He finished tied for second at the Sanderson Farms Championship, where he failed to win a five-man playoff. The youngster finished tied for 13th at the Shriners Children’s Open and 10th at the World Wide Technology Championship.
“I’m a competitor. We like to compete, and winning tournaments is what you want to do,” Åberg said. “I consider myself very fortunate to be in this position, and I view it as a privilege to feel that pressure, tension and nervousness. It’s not something that I want to back down from. I want to keep doing what I’m doing, hit good golf shots and make putts.”
It’s only a matter of time before Åberg gets over the hump on the PGA Tour. The rookie won on the DP World Tour at the Omega European Masters, so he knows what it feels like to come out on top.
He, McCarthy and Ryder will be the last group off the first tee on Seaside Saturday morning. They begin their round at 11:05 a.m. ET, as the RSM Classic will play split tees for the third round.
Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.