Åberg challenging Cole for ROY; head-to-head battle on Sunday

Åberg challenging Cole for ROY; head-to-head battle on Sunday
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ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – While the PGA Tour Player of the Year award remains up in the air, depending on how members value the seasons of Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland, the Rookie of Year award had been a forgone conclusion for much of the season.

Eric Cole, who at 35 finally broke through on Tour this year, was the clear front-runner with six top-10 finishes and he was the only rookie to advance past the first round of the playoffs. But Cole’s status as the leader in the clubhouse has been seriously challenged since Ludvig Åberg left Texas Tech and joined the Tour.

The 24-year-old earned his Tour card via the PGA Tour University program and since turning pro in May has three top-10 finishes and was runner-up at the Sanderson Farms Championship. He also won on the DP World Tour at the European Masters and had a solid debut at the Ryder Cup, going 2-2-0 in Italy.

According to Tour regulations, “a player’s rookie season is defined as the season in which he becomes a PGA Tour member and plays in 10 or more events as a member.” The RSM Classic is Åberg’s 11th Tour start as a member.

Luckily for the membership, Sunday’s final round at Sea Island (Ga.) Resort could serve as a mandate for Rookie of the Year award voting with Åberg and Cole (along with Mackenzie Hughes) together in the day’s final group and both vying for their first Tour victory.

“It would be awesome,” Cole said earlier this week when asked about possibly winning the Arnold Palmer Award. “It’s something you only get a chance to win once, which is kind of a unique thing in golf. To win that would be incredible.”

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