Rain or not, no one can put out Ludvig Aberg’s fire.
The PGA Tour rookie fired off a bogey-free 5-under 67 to sit tied for fourth after 18 holes at the RSM Classic on St. Simons Island, Ga.
Players had to deal with two rain delays on Thursday. The first pushed back start times, and the second abruptly stopped play early in the afternoon.
Aberg was one of the lucky few to get all 18 holes in, and those delays didn’t phase him. He took on the par-72 Plantation Course for his first round, recording three birdies and an incredible eagle at the par-5 8th, his 17th hole.
That momentum-building eagle putt came after that hours-long rain delay.
“It was a long day. It got nasty at times with the rain and the wind, but I felt patience-wise I did a really good job,” Aberg said. “It’s easy to let the outside distractions bother you, but I feel like I did that pretty well. The rain delay for a couple of hours was long and boring, but I did a good job of keeping myself in the now and being ready whenever the restart came.”
This year isn’t the first time the former Texas Tech Red Raider played in the RSM Classic. After he won the 2021 Jones Cup at Ocean Forest, another golf club on St. Simons Island, that victory got him into the field as an amateur.
“I think if I hadn’t played here before, it would have been a little bit trickier, but I’m glad I had that experience,” he said. “I think coming back to a tournament is always easier.
A lot has changed since his last appearance two years ago.
“I’m a different player. I think I’m more experienced, I know more about my own game and I know my tendencies a lot better,” Aberg said. “I would still be able to hit the shots two years ago that I do now, but I just do it more consistently… I’m better if something’s a little bit off, I can come back to it a little bit easier. I think it all comes with experience, and I’m sure if you talk to me in two years’ time, I’ll probably say similar things.”
Aberg played this week because he enjoys tournament golf but also because he is right outside of the Top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings. Getting inside that Top 50 at the end of the weekend would earn him an invitation to Augusta National for the 2024 Masters Tournament.
“The 50 mark is kind of a golden threshold, and obviously that would be — it’s a huge motivator for me, and I try to view it that way, but I’m not — I’m just fortunate to be here,” he said.
Aberg has been on a tear since he turned pro earlier this year.
On top of winning on the DP World Tour, he has three top 10s, a runner-up finish and seven top 25s in 10 PGA Tour events. Not to mention, the 24-year-old was a part of the victorious Team Europe Ryder Cup team. He and Viktor Hovland delivered a historic beat down of Brooks Koepka and Scottie Scheffler that people will discuss for years.
The Eslov, Sweden native has made a name for himself in the short few months he has been on Tour. Aberg has yet another opportunity this fall to improve his world ranking and get him into bigger events during the 2024 season.
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.