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Ludvig Aberg bouncing back after ‘reality check’ of US PGA missed cut

Ludvig Aberg – Ludvig Aberg bouncing back after 'reality check' of USPGA missed cut
Ludvig Aberg has been described as a generational talent - AP/Sue Ogrocki

Ludvig Aberg acknowledges that his missed cut at the USPGA Championship was a “reality check” but the wunderkind of the Europe Ryder Cup team set his sights on a quick return to fantasyland with an opening four-under 68 here on his debut at The Memorial.

After notching up two wins in his first six months as a pro and starring as a rookie in the blue-and-gold victory over the United States in Rome last October, nobody expected Aberg to make a sharp exit back out of the gates at Valhalla three weeks ago. Least of all the 24-year-old.

The month previous he finished second at the Masters on what, remarkably, was his major bow and not even a year into his career it all seemed as blessedly straightforward as his metronomic driving. Aberg travelled to Kentucky having finished top 10 in half of his 10 starts in 2004 and inevitably, the bookies rank scared placing Aberg as fourth favourite to lift the Wanamaker Trophy.

However, he fell short of making the weekend by a shot. It was Aberg’s first missed cut as a pro in America and just his second – having fallen foul of the East Lothian weather at the Scottish Open last July – in 25 starts in the paid ranks.

“It could have been [a reality check], I guess,” Aberg, the world No 6, said. “I mean, I had a great experience at the Masters and I got to experience the other side of the spectrum at the PGA. Look, there’s going to be ups and downs in golf, and I’m okay with that. Everyone who has played the game knows it can’t be perfect all the time. But the best we can do is learn from it and try to not repeat it as much as we can.”

In fairness, there was mitigation. Aberg was carrying a knee injury and was forced to pull out of the Wells Fargo Championship, meaning that he had only been in competitive action once since Augusta.

“I wouldn’t say the knee was the problem there [at the USPGA], no,” Aberg said. ”It’s just that felt like I hadnt’ played much and wasn’t really prepared when I got there. This is the first start since the [US] PGA, and I had three weeks off before that.”

On Sunday Aberg enjoyed a scouting trip to Pinehurst, the venue for next week’s US Open. He expects the revered No 2 course to be fast and firm which is the exact opposite to the challenge here at Muirfield Village after the rains of the previous few days.

Yet any major would love this leaderboard with world No 1 Scottie Scheffler - Aberg’s playing partner - on five-under once back Adam Hadwin, the early pacesetter from Canada.

US PGA winner Xander Schauffele is also on four-under on his first outing after his Valhalla glory and defending champion Viktor Hovland adds to the quality on three-under in the tournament hosted by Jack Nicklaus.

“It’s good to be back,” Aberg said. “I love being out here and being around great players and playing these golf courses. You kind of miss it when you’re not playing.”

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