Ludvig Aberg is on the verge of being named in Luke Donald's European Ryder Cup squad after the prodigious Swede produced a thrilling final-round 64 to win the European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Switzerland.
Aberg, who only turned professional in June, birdied four of his final five holes to overhaul pre-tournament favourite Matt Fitzpatrick, winning his first pro title by two shots and announcing himself as a rising star of European golf in the process.
|What||Ryder Cup 2023|
|Where||Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, Rome|
|When||Friday 29th September - Sunday 1st October|
|How to watch||Sky Sports Golf|
|Odds||Europe 11/8, Tie 12/1, USA|
The 23-year-old began the final round two shots adrift of 54-hole leader Fitzpatrick and was in the same position when he made the turn, before a late barrage of birdies saw him take down the faltering leader in the closing stages.
Despite his evident inexperience, Aberg had been widely expected to be named as one of Donald's six captain's picks for the much-anticipated match, which begins at Marco Simone Golf Club, Rome, on 29th September.
The Swede played his opening two rounds with European vice-captains Nicolas Colsaerts and Edoardo Molinari, opening with a 64 and a 67, before Saturday's 66 put him in a position to challenge for the title - a chance he took in some style.
European skipper Donald is set to announce the rest of his team at 14:00 on Monday and any doubts surrounding Aberg's selection look to have been put firmly to bed after the Swede's magnificent finish, which also earns him a spot in the world's top 100 for the first time.
Blessed with immense tee-to-green ability and few weaknesses, Aberg was an amateur star who held the No.1 ranking on four different occasions over a total of 29 weeks before turning professional ahead of the Canadian Open.
However, he has quickly shown that he belongs in the professional ranks, finishing fourth at the John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour and then filling the same position at last week's Czech Masters before taking the Crans-sur-Sierre crown.
Europe are 11/8 to win the Ryder Cup with the USA to win outright.
Fitzpatrick looked to have a third European Masters title at his mercy when he birdied the 13th and 14th holes to move clear of the chasing pack, but the Yorkshireman made bogey from nowhere having found the fairway on the par-five 15th.
That failure to get up and down signalled the start of a collapse in which he dropped three shots in his final four holes, leaving the Englishman to finish third behind Aberg and his fellow Swede Alexander Bjork.
The 2022 US Open champion would've been disappointed with how the final holes unfolded but he can gain some solace in the fact that a top-seven finish was good enough to seal an automatic place in the European team via the World Points list.
Fitzpatrick will join Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland and Tyrrell Hatton at the event in Rome, as will Robert MacIntyre, who is poised for a Ryder Cup debut, having qualified in third place on the European Points List.
MacIntyre, who battled to make the cut at Crans and finished in a share of 55th place after back-to-back 70s over the weekend, made the European team at the expense of Yannik Paul, who needed a top-three finish to seal an automatic spot.
Tommy Fleetwood, dislodged in the World Points List by Fitzpatrick, was one of the heroes of the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris and he looks a certainty to earn a captain's pick alongside veteran Justin Rose and 2019 Open hero Shane Lowry.
With Aberg likely on board, two of Sepp Straka, Adrian Meronk and Nicolai Hojgaard are expected to make up the rest of the European squad, although Straka's looks more secure than the others.
Meronk, a champion at Marco Simone earlier in the Italian Open in May, produced a birdie-birdie finish on the way to 13th place at Crans-sur-Sierre, while Hojgaard, who has also won at the Ryder Cup course, has finished third and fifth in the last two weeks.
It's difficult to know which way Donald will lean, and it's possible that Hojgaard's results, in particular, could bring Straka's place in the squad into question.