By Savannah Richardson for AmateurGolf.com
Ludvig Aberg rolling the winning putt (Savannah Richardson photo)
The 2021 Jones Cup came down to the final hole and final putt on Sunday for Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg
. He sank a seven-foot birdie putt on the 18th to break a four-way tie and win by one stroke as he finished 2-under on the tournament.
Aberg went back and forth all day with University of Georgia’s Davis Thompson
, Texas’ Cole Hammer
and Wake Forest’s Alex Fitzpatrick
, before prevailing at the last.
Aberg started the day one stroke back and quietly kept his spot in contention. It came down to the final three holes as the last two groups kept the spectators on their toes. With Thompson being the local player and defending champion, he seemed to have more out there, but by 18, when Aberg sunk that putt, everyone was excited for him.
He said winning this tournament means a ton to him, and he knew if he could stay consistent on Sunday, he could have a chance.
“Last year, there wasn’t even a possibility to compete. So being able to compete against the best players in the world means a lot, and to come out on top — it’s great,” Aberg said. “I knew from the start it was going to be tough. The wind was blowing from the north, making this golf course pretty tough. I knew if I could somehow hang in there around par or maybe something under — I thought I was going to do pretty good. It was tough, but it ended up pretty good.”
Ludvig Aberg (Savannah Richardson photo)
He struggled on the front nine as he posted a 37, including three bogeys. However, he scored when it mattered on the back.
After he made birdie on 10, he parred the next three holes. During those pars, Thompson birdied 12 and 14 to take the solo lead. Aberg’s playing partner, Fitzpatrick, struggled again with his putter all day and couldn’t find a way to score. Hammer also found himself in contention, but bogeys on 12 and 17 proved to be costly.
While Fitzpatrick and Hammer hung tough, all the momentum was with Aberg and Thompson.
It looked as if Thompson could run away with it after the 15th hole. Then disaster struck on 16 and then 17. While he said he played solid, those two bogeys were momentum killers.
Davis Thompson (Savannah Richardson photo)
“I played solid. I put myself into position to win, which was the main goal coming into today,” Thompson said. “I didn’t feel like I hit a bad shot on 16 just kind of drifted right on me and went into the hazard — ended up making bogey. I had a tough two-putt and ended up three-putting on 17, so that’s kind of all she wrote. I was happy with the way I played and was just happy I put myself into a position to win.”
On 16, he was way right and had to be quite strategic in his up and down shot to avoid a disaster.
“It was just an awful lie in the hazard,” Thompson said. “I didn’t want to hack it out and leave it in the hazard or have it just shoot way over the green back into the hazard, so I just took my drop and was fortunate to make bogey.”
Thompson and Hammer both closed out the round with a par on 18 and at 1-under on the tournament. At the time, a four-way playoff was likely, but Aberg wasn’t about to let that happen.
Despite falling short, the 2020 Jones Cup winner said putting himself into contention gives him confidence moving forward especially playing against this caliber of golfers.
“It’s great just kind of gives me that confidence that I have a solid game when I’m playing well,” Thompson said. “I’m just excited about the future and trying to play in these college events coming up and then turning pro in the summer, so I’m just excited.”
Aberg didn’t make it easy for himself as he bogeyed 14 after hitting a volunteer’s cart. Then he birded the 15th and parred the 16th. Things got tight between the top of the leaderboard as Aberg also three-putted on 17 — giving the spectators quite the suspenseful finish. With Thompson in front of him, Aberg had a feel of what he had to do throughout the day and when he got to 18, he knew a birdie would win it.
“I hit a good drive. The wind was off to the right, so I hit my normal draw over the bunker,” Aberg said. "I had 165 meters, so that's probably 180 yards. I was right in between clubs, but I hit a really good eight iron up to about seven feet just on the correct side of the hole. I knew I needed a birdie, so being able to pull that off is huge.”
That seven-footer looked effortless from Aberg, and he said that’s been one of his strengths all along.
Ludvig Aberg (Savannah Richardson photo)
“It’s kind of been one of my strengths since I started playing golf,” Aberg said. “All the bad stuff happening doesn’t really bother me that much. So to be able to do it on the biggest stage in amateur golf against the best players on the last it means a great deal.”
Aberg almost didn’t even get into the field, his coach at Texas Tech Greg Sands said, so the fact he won makes him so proud of him. Sands said he was on the waiting list until a week out of the event, and with a few emails and persistence, they got him into the field.
“I’m so happy for Ludvig. He has been working so hard, and it’s so cool to see it pay off,” Sands said. “After having a great summer, he didn’t really play quite to his potential this past fall. So, to see him succeed so quickly after his winter break in Sweden is a testament to his mental toughness and his fantastic preparation.”
With the Jones Cup win, Aberg earned a spot in the RSM Classic this coming November, and he said he’s excited to play.
“I will most definitely play in that,” Aberg said. “It’s obviously a dream come true to play a tournament on the PGA Tour. I watch those guys every week — I’m a big golf fan. So being able to play against those players and hopefully compete is a dream come true."
ABOUT THE Jones Cup
The Jones Cup is probably the biggest of the
amateur majors in the United States, and the reason
is the venue and the strong U.S. and
international field. The past champions list is littered
with PGA Tour stars, including Justin Thomas,
Patrick Reed, Luke List, Kyle Stanley, Beau Hossler
This 54-hole individual stroke-play event,
in 2001, is played at Ocean Forest Golf Club.
The Rees Jones design opened in 1995 and has
the Georgia State Amateur Championship, the
Southern Amateur Championship and the 2001
Cup Match. The Jones Cup brings together
many of the finest amateurs from the United States
and abroad for a three-day competition.
The Jones Cup was born from a deep commitment to
amateur golf by the A.W. Jones family, who
founded the Cloister and Sea Island Golf Club in
The Sea Island Golf Club has played host to
seven USGA championships. The Jones Cup is yet
another extension of the family's strong
involvement in amateur golf.
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