Which Cindefella Will Get His Glass Golf Spikes This Week?

Ludvig Aberg, 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational, Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Ludvig Aberg, 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational, Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

There are three promising candidates for victory at the RSM Classic, the final PGA Tour event of 2023: Eric Cole, Cameron Young, and Ludvig Aberg. They are promising because they have played well enough over the last 12 to 24 months to be worth watching, all of them for different reasons.

The oldest is Eric Cole, 35, son of Laura Baugh, once an LPGA player known more for her Ultra Bright smile and her U.S. Amateur trophy at age 16 than her professional game, and her then-husband Bobby Cole, once a PGA Tour player, winner of the Buick Open and former British Amateur champ. (Cole is not the oldest PGA Tour rookie. That honor goes to Allen Doyle.)

The 35-year-old snuck up on all of us at the Honda Classic last winter, taking Chris Kirk to a playoff. Since then, he has refused to go away. It shouldn’t be a surprise since Cole is a winner of more than 50 professional events, just not at the PGA Tour level.

At age 35, he could be one of the latest late bloomers of all. He finished the regular season in the top 50, so he’s here trying for his first PGA Tour title.

Then there’s Cameron Young, who had a realistic chance at the 2022 PGA Championship, but finished third and also had a chance at the 2022 British Open, but finished a shot back of Cam Smith. He has yet to win a PGA Tour event, but he’s been clinging to the top rungs of leaderboards since getting his Tour card.

Why was he at this week’s RSM Classic since he’s already in all the big events next season?

"“I’ve had some time off. I was kind of ready to go back to work, and this is a nice place to bring my family,” Young said after the end of play in the first round. “You can only be at home, I think, so long, and it was nice to just see what work I’ve done at home and kind of bring it to a tournament and see how it goes.”"

He said he’s been working on the range and the practice putting green doing drills.

Ludvig Aberg returns to the RSM Classic.

And finally, there’s Ludvig Aberg, the Swedish phenom with the funny O over the first letter of his last name and who has already won a tournament on the DP World Tour.

Aberg even has a victory at Sea Island at the 2021 Jones Cup Invitational which is played at the Ocean Forest Golf Club. And he played in the RSM Classic in 2021 where he missed the cut, so he has seen the courses in the past.

Even though he is exempt for next season as the top player from the PGA Tour University rankings, he knows what a victory would do. He already has a DP World Tour title, which is extraordinary, but he’s not going to spend his time in Europe.

“My main priority is America and the PGA TOUR. It’s been that way since I turned pro,” Aberg said after round one and reiterated the same sentiments after round two of the RSM Classic.

"“I wanted to improve my status and try to play tournaments and try to get into the big events for next year.”  – Ludvig Aberg"

Aberg is currently 53rd in the world rankings.

The OWRG (world rankings) page notes that a first place at the RSM Classic would give Aberg – or any of the others — 37 points. A second place is worth 22, and third would provide him with 14. That could be all he needs to get into the top 50 in the world which opens many doors for big golf events.

Next. Rory folds a bad hand. dark

While any one of the three would be a good champion, there’s no guarantee that Cole, Young, or Aberg will hold the trophy on Sunday. That’s because the RSM Classic starts as a full field event with 156 golfers in it. After the cut on Friday, there are 78.

Almost any one of them could win. The leader is at 11-under par.  The last place guys are tied at 3-under par. That means only eight shots currently separate first from last. Anything could happen!