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Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg won the European Masters in just his ninth event as a professional to make a hugely compelling case for a Ryder Cup wildcard.
Aberg, who only joined the paid ranks in June, carded a superb closing 64 at Crans-sur-Sierre to finish 19 under par, two shots ahead of compatriot Alexander Bjork.
Overnight leader Matt Fitzpatrick, who was bidding to join Seve Ballesteros as a three-time winner of the event, bogeyed three of the last four holes to slip into a tie for third with Scotland’s Connor Syme on 16 under.
That was still enough to replace Tommy Fleetwood in the final qualifying place on the world points list, with Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre holding on to the last spot on the European Points list.
Europe captain Luke Donald will name his six wildcards on Monday and it would be a major surprise if Aberg was not selected along with Fleetwood, Justin Rose and Shane Lowry, with Sepp Straka, Adrian Meronk and Nicolai Hojgaard potentially battling it out for the two remaining spots.
“I don’t even know where to start, it’s a pretty surreal feeling to be honest, but obviously super, super happy,” the 23-year-old said.
“I figured a win would put me in a good position (for the Ryder Cup) but honestly I’ve been doing a pretty good job of not thinking about it too much.
“I feel like I get reminded of it a lot, but once I get on the golf course it’s just me and golf and luckily I was able to finish well today and win the tournament.
“It would mean the world obviously. I think as a young golfer growing up in Sweden and in Europe those are the events you want to be a part of and if I ever get the chance to be a part of that I’m going to be over the moon. It would be really cool.”
Aberg began the final round two shots behind Fitzpatrick and was three adrift when the former US Open champion carded his third birdie of the day on the 13th.
Fitzpatrick also birdied the 14th, but then bogeyed three of the next four holes as Aberg compiled four birdies in a row from the 14th to surge to the top of the leaderboard.
MacIntyre had earlier finished in a tie for 55th after making a double bogey on the 18th in a closing 70, but neither Meronk or Yannik Paul were able to produce the top-three finish they needed to overhaul the left-hander.
Aberg held his nerve brilliantly under pressure to take his maiden professional win
(AFP via Getty Images)
“I am so excited,” MacIntyre said. “It’s been a tough qualifying campaign, but I am pleased with the way I have dealt with the challenge and to have earned one of the six automatic spots.
“I’ve worked hard to play in the Ryder Cup, but now it’s important that we go on and win it.”
MacIntyre, who played alongside Donald in the Czech Masters and was paired with Meronk and Paul for the first two rounds in Switzerland, added: “The last two weeks have been hell. Pairings in the first two rounds, media hype – everything has just been tough.”