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For U.S. Open leader Ludvig Åberg, Pinehurst No. 2 still hardest course he’s ever played

PINEHURST, N.C. – The hardest golf course Ludvig Åbergs says he’s played before this week’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2?

Why that would be Pinehurst No. 2.

Åberg, who leads the 124th U.S. Open at its midway point at 5 under, first competed on the demanding Donald Ross gem at the 2019 U.S. Amateur, which was contested just weeks before he arrived at Texas Tech. Åberg shot 1 over, which included a 3-over 73 on No. 2, to tie for 12th in stroke play before beating Donnie Trosper in the Round of 64.

Åberg’s week ended in the second round of match play, as he lost to eventual semifinalist Will Holcomb, 1 down.

“I remember it was one of my first experiences coming over and playing a really hard golf course in America, and I was like, ‘Is this what golf in America is like?’” Aberg recalled Friday evening following his second-round 69. “Luckily, it’s not like this every week.”

Not that Åberg hasn’t made it look easier than the 73.07 scoring average through 36 holes.

He hit 14 of 14 of fairways on Thursday and missed just a pair on Friday. No one has found more fairway or greens in regulation. Åberg also leads the field in strokes gained off the tee and is sixth in putting.

“It’s a demanding golf course, not only physically but mentally, as well,” Åberg said. “It demands a lot of discipline and patience coming into these greens. I think I just have to play with a lot of acceptance. I have to make sure that it’s not going to be perfect all the time. Most likely all players in the field are going to have a struggle at some point during the round.”