Ludvig Aberg leads as Europe’s Ryder Cup team makes BMW PGA Championship statement

Ludvig Åberg continues to amaze.

After storming from behind to win the Omega European Masters, Åberg now holds a share of the 36-hole lead at the BMW PGA Championship—the flagship event of the DP World Tour.

He sits at 10-under par, tied with fellow Swede Sebastian Söderberg.

Åberg, who is just 23 years old, carded a 6-under 66 Friday while playing with fellow European Ryder Cuppers Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland.

“Playing with those two guys has been a lot of fun and a new experience for me,” Åberg said after his round. “I’m trying to take everything I can and learn from it because they have done so much so successfully in this game, and I’m trying to pick up some things they are doing as well.”

Ludvig Åberg, Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy, BMW PGA Championship

Ludvig Åberg, Viktor Hovland, and Rory McIlroy wait on the 14th tee during the second round of the 2023 BMW PGA Championship.
Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Funny enough, McIlroy and Hovland did not play as well as Åberg.

McIlroy struggled but relied on his clutch gene to make the cut on the number. Hovland, meanwhile, sits at 5-under, as he shot a 2-under 70 on Friday.

But plenty of other members of Team Europe are playing well at Wentworth.

Tommy Fleetwood matched Åberg with a 66 of his own on Friday, as the Englishman sits just one stroke back at 9-under.

“Yeah, played really well,” Fleetwood said afterward. “I just stayed patient. I knew I was hitting it well. I kept hitting the right shots off the tee and just giving myself looks, and hopefully, by the law of averages, I hit some decent putts, and some will go in, and maybe there’s still my fair share out there over the weekend.”

Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, BMW PGA Championship

Tommy Fleetwood stands alongside 2023 Ryder Cup teammate Shane Lowry during the second round of the 2023 BMW PGA Championship.
Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Fleetwood has been knocking on the door all season. He has nine top 10s, including a runner-up finish at the RBC Canadian Open. The Southport, England native has played spectacularly all year, even though he has not entered the winning circle.

Perhaps he will do so this weekend.

Either way, Fleetwood will be a thorn in Team USA’s side in Rome.

So, too, will Sepp Straka, who also carded a 6-under 66 Friday. Straka won the John Deere Classic in July and will become the first Austrian to play in the Ryder Cup. He sits at 8-under par through 36 holes.

One stroke behind him at 7-under is Tyrrell Hatton, while Jon Rahm and Matt Fitzpatrick are both 6-under.

That means seven members of the European Ryder Cup team are within five shots of the lead.

And, of course, it is the young stud Åberg who leads the way.

Watch out, Team USA, the Europeans are rounding into form, and they have revenge on their minds.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.

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