Åberg proud of how he handed “unbelievable” major debut at Masters

Ronan MacNamara

Ludvig Aberg (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Swedish sensation Ludvig Åberg is very proud of how he handled himself as he gave himself a realistic chance of winning the Masters on his major championship debut last week.

Åberg finished second to Scottie Scheffler as his bid to become the first rookie to win the Masters since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 came up shy as did his attempt at becoming the first debutant to win a major since Keegan Bradley at the 2011 PGA Championship.

“I mean, last week was unbelievable. You don’t really know what it’s going to be like until you actually play in your first major, especially it being the Masters,” explained the 24-year-old.

“Overall I think we all really enjoyed the week together. It was cool to have everyone there and to spend the week together. Obviously Augusta is a special place.

“But we felt like we did a lot of good things, and frankly very proud of the way that we handled all those things. Like I said before, you don’t really know what it’s going to be like to play your first major until you really play it, and all those things, I felt like we handled that really well, and it makes us really excited about the next one.”

Åberg admits that taking a double bogey on the par-4 11th in the final round when he pulled his approach shot into the water ultimately cost him the tournament. Fellow contender Collin Morikawa also doubled the 11th while Max Homa took a five at the par-3 12th all in quick succession to leave the door open for Scheffler.

The young Swedish player, who became the first player to play in a Ryder Cup without making a major championship appearance last September earned rave reviews for how he handled the pressure, particularly when he walked off the 11th green with a smile on his face, despite the costly six.

“I didn’t know it at the time that I was smiling, I guess. Obviously it wasn’t ideal to dump it in the water. I think we all know that.

“But at the end of the day, me and Joe and my caddie, my team, we’ve talked a lot about just keep playing, just make sure that the next shot is your best one. That’s all you can do. That’s all you can try to focus on.

“Obviously looking back, that was probably where I lost the tournament a little bit, but I didn’t know it at the time. All I tried to do is just keep pushing forward and keep pushing forward. You never what’s going to happen, especially on a course like Augusta where so many things can happen.

“I felt very fortunate to still be playing a major championship Sunday back nine in contention is what I’ve dreamt of for my whole career. Even though I made a dumb mistake on 11, I was still in the hunt, and I still felt very fortunate to be in that situation.”

This time last year, Åberg was still in college, but since turning professional he has already won on the DP World Tour and the PGA TOUR. He might seem to be exuding the usual nerveless confidence of a youngster bursting onto the scene, but he too is no stranger to the butterflies.

“I was super, super nervous. I think I was nervous the whole week, even when I was about to tee off in the practice rounds. I think those are always going to be there, which is okay. It’s all part of being a human, I think, to feel those nerves.

“But yes, it was a little bit more than a normal TOUR event because you know the magnitude of the tournament, everything that comes with it.

“Then I’d say it’s a little bit different from the Ryder Cup because the Ryder Cup is a little bit of a different dynamic, as well, where you represent so much more than just yourself. You’re representing your teammates and your captains and the continent and your country whereas here it’s just me and my team.”

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