The Swede, ranked number three on the World Amateur Golf Ranking®, took advantage of idyllic conditions to post a superb seven-under-par 65 at St Annes Old Links and sit a stroke clear at the top.
With this week’s Championship in Lancashire attracting record entries, Aberg set the pace among the 288-player field which features competitors from 42 countries.
In one of the final groups of the day, Denmark's Mathias Lorentzen posted a fine six-under 66 to secure second place alone going into round two of stroke play qualifying tomorrow.
Aberg, the Texas Tech student who won the 2022 Ben Hogan Award presented by PNC Bank as best men’s college golfer over the previous 12 months, chipped in for an eagle at the 18th to highlight his day.
The highest-ranked player this week said, “I feel like I've worked hard to get to where I am and it's more of a testament to me doing some good stuff. Yeah, people will obviously expect you to play well and luckily I did today.”
Another Swede, Hugo Townsend, posted a five-under 67 at St Annes Old Links in the late evening sun, with the national squad now being mentored by Peter Hanson, the former Ryder Cup player.
“Peter has had such a long and successful career on the tours and his experiences together with coaching, it's just going to be great for us players,” added Aberg.
While St Annes Old Links offered more favourable scoring opportunities than the test posed by Royal Lytham & St Annes, host to The Open on 11 occasions, Scotland’s Jamie Roberts excelled over the latter to sign for a four-under 66 – helped by two birdies in his last three holes on the demanding closing finish.