Morning Chronicle - Aberg will wear knee brace but Masters runner-up ready for PGA

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Aberg will wear knee brace but Masters runner-up ready for PGA
Aberg will wear knee brace but Masters runner-up ready for PGA / Photo: Patrick Smith - GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

Aberg will wear knee brace but Masters runner-up ready for PGA

Sixth-ranked Ludvig Aberg, coming off a runner-up Masters finish in his major debut, has no worries about a lingering knee issue when the 106th PGA Championship tees off Thursday.

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The 24-year-old Swede, who only turned professional last June, seeks his first major title this week at Valhalla after withdrawing from last week's event at Quail Hollow with a knee issue, not specifying which of them was a worry.

"Knee's good. It was more of a safety concern last week that I didn't play," Aberg said Wednesday on the eve of the opening round.

"I'm consulting with my doctors and I trust them with everything that I have, so it's not bothering me at all this week and I look forward to playing."

Aberg will wear a knee brace protectively but expects no problems.

"It's nothing that's bothering me," he said. "I'm focusing on the golf."

Aberg has nine top-10 finishes in his past 15 PGA Tour starts, including his first US victory at last November's RSM Classic.

Aberg fired the lowest second round at the Masters last month, a 69 to jump into seventh, and also shot 69 in the last round at Augusta National to finish four strokes adrift of top-ranked Scottie Scheffler -- still good enough for a $2.16 million payday.

"I really enjoyed it," Aberg said. "I feel like a big thing for me when I'm playing golf is try to enjoy it and try to have fun. Once I'm not having fun, I think that's when it goes downhill.

"That's how I try to treat every tournament, but I think playing in contention at Augusta makes that a little bit easier."

The former world amateur number one, whose first pro victory came last September at the DP World Tour's European Masters in Switzerland, hopes to take advantage of expected wet weekend conditions.

"I like to think that I can hit it high and long," he said. "I like to shape it different ways and make sure I have all those shots in my toolbox. That way I feel ready to play, and that starts, definitely, with the fundamentals."

Valhalla has impressed Aberg so far.

"It's a tough golf course," he said. "Everyone is just trying to manage their game the best they can and see where it takes us on Sunday."

Aberg starts in the fourth group off the 10th tee on Thursday morning alongside two US standouts -- Justin Thomas, the hometown hero with two PGA Championship triumphs, and Xander Schauffele, the reigning Olympic champion seeking his first major victory.

With Tiger Woods in the group behind him and second-ranked Rory McIlroy in the one after that, there will be plenty of spectators moving around the trio.

That's just going to add to the thrills for Aberg in his PGA Championship debut.

"I'm feeling all these things that first-timers do," he said. "So I try to focus on the golf. At the end of the day, this is what I've been wanting to do since I was a little boy and I love doing it."