Aberg takes 1-shot lead into weekend at Pinehurst in US Open debut

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PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) — The U.S. Open is a new experience for Ludvig Aberg, not that anyone would notice the way his machine-like game gave him the 36-hole lead Friday.

Pinehurst No. 2 is not.

Aberg was a 19-year-old from Sweden about to start his college career at Texas Tech when he came to this Donald Ross gem for the 2019 U.S. Amateur, losing in the second round.

“I remember it was one of my first experiences coming over and playing a really hard golf course in America,” Aberg said. “And I was like, ‘Is this what golf in America is like?’ Luckily it’s not like this every week. But I just remember it being very hard.”

It remains every bit of that, and Aberg showed again that he very much up to the task. He didn’t miss a fairway until the eighth hole of the second round. The sensational Swede is not immune to mistakes, but he has avoided big blunders and big numbers.

He methodically worked his way to a 1-under 69 in extreme heat. He took a one-shot lead into a weekend that features Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay and Rory McIlroy in the mix, and Scottie Scheffler thankful just to make the cut and get another crack at Pinehurst.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever played with him. The guy is like a machine from what I saw,” Tony Finau said after a 69 left him only two shots behind. “I obviously am focused on what I’m doing and playing my game, but he hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens.

“He sure makes it look pretty easy.”

Aberg wasn’t flawless. He did miss two fairways and he had two bogeys, one from the sandy landscape left of the eighth fairway, another when his approach on the 16th rolled through the green and into a back bunker.

He was at 5-under 135 and led by one shot over DeChambeau (69), Cantlay (71) and Thomas Detry of Belgium (67). / AP

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