Ludvig Aberg fired a 6-under 64 in his second round Friday to take a one-shot lead into the weekend at the RSM Classic in St. Simons Island, Ga.
The Swedish up-and-comer is at 11-under 131 for a narrow edge over Denny McCarthy, Sam Ryder and Eric Cole. Aberg, who received his card this summer through the PGA Tour University program and played well at the Ryder Cup, is seeking his first win on tour.
Aberg has remained bogey-free through two rounds, one played at Sea Island Golf Club’s Seaside course and one at its Plantation course. Aberg’s 64 came at Seaside, where he birdied three holes on each side, finishing off with a birdie putt at the par-4 18th hole.
“I feel like I’ve been striking the ball quite well, which obviously is nice in the wind, which is quite tricky to kind of maneuver,” Aberg said. “I made a few par putts today, I made some 10-footer-ish for par on 1 and then it’s nice to get those momentum putts and to keep the round going a little bit.
“But there’s no guarantees, but if I keep doing what I’m doing today, I like my chances.”
Cole and McCarthy played Seaside on Friday and shot 66 and 67, respectively. Ryder rocketed into the tie for second with a 7-under 65 at Plantation, finishing his round birdie-par-birdie-birdie-eagle.
Ryder reached the green in two at the par-5 18th and had an estimated 50-foot putt for eagle.
“I was from the left bottom tier (of the green),” Ryder said. “I kind of hit it in the middle and kind of worked to the bottom left, but I was pin high so it was almost more straight up the hill. … I was just focused on having good speed and it looked really good after it got up the tier and dropped.”
Ryder entered the week No. 60 in the FedEx Cup Fall series with only one tournament to go. Finishing in the top 60 would give Ryder and others a berth into two signature events this winter, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Genesis Invitational.
“My goal has been to try and have a good fall and play my way into the first couple signature events,” he said. “There’s 10 spots there, so it’s kept me motivated and kept me driven throughout the fall. I feel like it’s just going to be a really good way to start the year if you can get into a couple of those big events early.”
Austin Eckroat (68 at Seaside), Peter Kuest (66 at Seaside), Tyler Duncan (65 at Plantation), Matt Kuchar (68 at Plantation) and Ben Kohles (67 at Plantation) are tied at 9 under.
Defending champion Adam Svensson (66 at Plantation) and fellow Canadian Mackenzie Hughes (66 at Seaside) are among those tied at 8 under. Cameron Young, who had a share of the lead when play was suspended Thursday, shot a 68 at Seaside and is also at 8 under.
Notable names to miss the cut line of 4 under par include Italian Francesco Molinari (3 under), Zach Johnson (2 under), Webb Simpson (1 under) and Ireland’s Padraig Harrington (even).
The final two rounds will both be played at the Seaside course.