College Golf

Want to announce you're the favorite to win the NCAA title? Shooting a 59 in practice sure helps

With the NCAA Championship beginning on Friday, Texas Tech’s Ludvig Aberg is looking to close out one of the more impressive men’s college golf seasons in recent memory with one last title. The 23-year-old senior by way of Sweden arrives at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., having won his last two college tournaments, the Big 12 Championship (by eight shots) and the NCAA Norman Regional. Those were his third and fourth wins of the 2022-23 campaign, one in which he’s finished no worse than T-8 in any event and carded 68.46 stroke average.

But just in case Aberg, who has claimed eight career wins in Lubbock, didn’t already have some confidence in his game as he rolled into nationals, he can lean into what happened on Wednesday when he and his Red Raider teammates played a friendly practice round at Kierland Golf Club in Scottsdale. While getting acclimated to the Arizona heat, it was Aberg who was red hot as his Texas Tech coach explains with this video:

A backhanded 59. Yeah, that’s pretty nice.

And here’s a close up view of that scorecard, with 11 birdies and an eagle.

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Mind you, 19 of his 28 rounds this season have been in the 60s, so going low is something Aberg is familiar with.

Wednesday’s heroics come after Aberg was named the winner of the Ben Hogan Award on Monday during a black-tie ceremony at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. The award is given to the top player in college golf based on a combination of his college and amateur results. Aberg also won the award in 2022, joining Jon Rahm as the only player to have won the award more than once.

Aberg is the favorite to claim college golf’s two other national POY honors, the Fred Haskins Award and Jack Nicklaus Award. He’s also No. 1 in the PGA Tour University Ranking, and if he can keep that top spot through the NCAA Championship, he’ll earn a PGA Tour card for the rest of the 2023 season that he can use starting at the RBC Canadian Open.

Aberg’s game is so solid that some have wondered if Luke Donald might consider using on of his captain’s picks on the Swede for this year’s European Ryder Cup team that plays in Rome. But first things first … there’s a tournament this week that he’s focused on.