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Newbies Ludvig Aberg, William Mouw Court Magic at John Deere Classic

The signs are everywhere at TPC Deere Run.

And vivid memories of one particular moment of magic are locked and loaded in the minds of the young guns at this week’s John Deere Classic.

“Yeah, yeah. Nobody is going to forget that shot,” William Mouw said Friday when the inevitable mention was made of the fateful shot that launched a teenaged Jordan Spieth to stardom in 2013. “Nobody is going to forget that shot. That was incredible. Just like the sign says back there at 18, ‘Magic Happens Here.’ Just happy to be part of it.”

Making his professional debut on the PGA TOUR after a strong career at Pepperdine, Mouw made himself a big part of the 2023 John Deere Classic story on Friday with a second-straight round of 66 that carried him into midway contention.

Mouw joined fellow PGA TOUR University program graduate Ludvig Aberg at 10-under par for the tournament. Aberg matched early midway leader and playing partner Cameron Young’s morning round of 7-under 64 to find himself in contention after 36 holes for a second straight week.

Both Mouw and Aberg will start the weekend in fifth place, three shots back of Young. Mouw and Aberg will play alongside Brendon Todd in Saturday’s second-to-last group.

Aberg, the native Swede and consensus college player of the year at Texas Tech, will cash a PGA TOUR paycheck for a fourth straight week since winning a full promotion by dominating the PGA TOUR University standings.

“Last week was such a fun experience for me to be in that position, which I hadn’t really been in before,” said Aberg, who found himself a shot out of the 36-hole lead at last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic before fading to a T40 finish.

He previously finished T25 at the RBC Canadian Open and T24 at the Traveler’s Championship.

“I think I’m going to use a lot of those experiences to my advantage this weekend,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep it simple and play some good golf.”

Good golf seems increasingly simple for the young guns these days. Certainly at Deere Run.

Readying for his senior season at Stanford University, amateur Michael Thorbjorsen matched the day’s best round with an 8-under 63 Friday morning, overcoming a 2-over 73 on Thursday and making his first cut on TOUR since last year’s fourth place finish at the Travelers.

Fellow amateur Gordon Sargent, the big-hitting Vanderbilt University junior, turned in a 4-under 67 and, at 5-under for the tournament, earned a weekend tee time for the second time in four starts against the pros this year. He was low amateur at the U.S. Open with a T39 in June. The made cut moves Sargent a point closer to earning a TOUR card through the Accelerated PGA TOUR program.

Already on European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald’s radar, Aberg moves potentially closer to that rare opportunity with every TOUR round. It’s not something he dwells on, though.

“Not really,” he said. “If you would have told me a month ago that I was going to be selected to the Ryder Cup, I wouldn’t have believed you. Obviously, all I can do is prepare for every tournament as good as I can and try and execute my gameplan. If it comes, great. If not, I’ll be pretty happy anyways.”

Mouw made magic in his TOUR debut. He played his way onto the leaderboard with a four-birdie backside 32, including back-to-back birdies at 16 and 17.

“I came prepared this week,” said the 22-year-old Californian who has made the cut in three of four Korn Ferry Tour starts since finishing sixth in the PGA TOUR University standings in May. “My game has been feeling great, and I knew with a good game plan I could play well.”

With a really good weekend, he could earn a second straight TOUR start at next week’s Barbasol Championship in Kentucky.

Or, should magic happen … Who knows?

“The goal is to keep playing well,” he said. “I don’t know what that’s going to be. It’s a couple of days until the future.”

Source : PGA Tour