Ludvig Aberg, a young gem for Texas Tech
Ludvig Aberg says he has watched a million videos of Tiger Woods and played for fun with compatriot Henrik Stenson, having grown up in Sweden not far from the 2016 British Open champion.
Maybe one day Aberg himself can be a household name for golf enthusiasts.
It wouldn’t surprise Greg Sands.
âHe may be a guy we’re talking about who’s number 1 in the world when he goes on the pro tour,â the Texas Tech coach said, âbut you don’t want to impose those expectations on him. You I just want to keep going. to get better every day and see where we land. But he’s a special kid. “
The second Tech from Eslov, Sweden, is No.5 in this week’s amateur golf world rankings. In the past two years, he’s finished 15 top-10s, including six wins: two at home in Sweden, two in events in the United States outside of the Tech calendar, and two this spring in college tournaments for the Red Raiders. .
Nothing would make Aberg happier, however, than leading Tech to an NCAA Championship. That postseason quest begins Monday when Tech and 13 other teams embark on the NCAA Albuquerque Regional, from which five teams and one individual will advance to the NCAA Championship Tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona.
In Tech’s seven spring schedule tournaments, Aberg has only finished outside the top 10 once. He takes credit from everyone in the schedule except himself.
“I played really well,” he said. âI think it comes down to sticking to the process and doing the job every day. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to win a few events, and it all comes down to the support we have here from the coaches.
“Our team is a strong team, with great depth, so we learn from each other every day. So I dedicate my success to the other guys on the team as well.”
Sands, during his two decades as a Tech coach, recruited a long line of Swedish players who thrived for the Red Raiders. There was Oscar Floren, a three-time all-American first team, and his brother, Nils Floren, a all-American first and third team one year each.
Four-time tournament winner Fredrik Nilehn was voted Big 12 player of the year. Nilehn gained recognition from all regions, as did Hannes Ronneblad and Markus Braadlie.
Aberg said that Nilehn and Adam Blomme, another former Swedish Red Raiders player, “are the guys who kind of convinced me to go here and told me what a great program it was. . “
To sign Aberg, Tech had to beat Arizona State, and Sands said his program’s connections in Sweden helped.
âHonestly, if he had been here in America and they saw him on the shooting range, we should have beaten 40 schools,â Sands said. âBut doing the hard work and being there and having a relationship with the Swedish coaches has definitely helped.
“He’s a really mature kid. He came and made a decision based on the coaching staff and what he saw. He even sees the weather, getting windy, as a plus to the fact. to be in Phoenix where it maybe almost too perfect at times. “
If other schools had seen Aberg on the course, Sands said, they would have looked at an impressive package: a 6-foot-3 golfer with clubhead speed and “his effortless swing that goes pretty far.”
And the clincher: maturity and temperament out of the ordinary and balanced. Maybe that helps explain how his three best rounds of the year – two 65s and a 66 – got into the final round of tournaments.
âHe really developed that,â Sands said, âbut he was basically given, I think, a gift from God to just have a lot of patience, to believe in himself, and that really translates into the game. golf. He just never. worries about bad shots, always stays in the present. It’s just a skill you don’t see, just mature beyond his years. “
While Aberg shone this spring, the Red Raiders, as a team, have fallen behind their expectations. They were second once, with their second best showing being three fourth places and fifth in the Big 12 tournament.
It’s time to change that, and it’s boosting Aberg’s competitiveness.
âI think you want to handle it like every other tournament,â he said, âbut there’s obviously more at stake now in the playoffs, and that’s what we love. That’s why we let’s play golf, and that’s why we love competition. It’s more of a motivator to get us out and play even better. “
What: NCAA Albuquerque Regional
When: From Monday to Wednesday
Or: UNM Championship Course, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Field: 14 teams, five people
Format: 54 stroke play holes. Five teams with the lowest scores and one person with the lowest scores not from those five teams will advance to the NCAA Championship Tournament May 28-June 2 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. .
Live Score: Golfstat.com