When Linn Grant finished playing at Halmstad Golf Club in Tylösand, Sweden, she was surrounded by a crowd of enthusiastic young fans.
Excitedly waving pens, they eagerly sought autographs from the Swede’s golf bag. Grant happily obliged, signing a variety of items including hats and golf balls.
Grant made history on June 12 by becoming the first female winner on the DP World Tour, earning a well-deserved buzz and recognition for her achievement at the Scandinavian Mixed event.
She not only made history, but she did it with ease by dominating the 156-player field. A final day score of eight-under 64 solidified her emphatic victory, as Grant finished with a remarkable 24-under par. She ended up nine shots ahead of runners up Marc Warren and Henrik Stenson, and an impressive 14 shots ahead of the next top female player, Gabriella Cowley.
The win was even more satisfying because it was achieved on home turf – in every sense of the term. Boyfriend Pontus Samuelsson acted as caddie, while friends and family cheered on in front of a thrilled Swedish audience.
“I sensed the atmosphere there,” Grant shared with CNN Sport. “At first, I thought it was because I was a local, but as I sat in the car on my way home, I began to receive notifications and messages on social media, as well as requests from journalists – it all just escalated…it’s quite unbelievable.”
The previous week, Minjee Lee’s victory at the US Women’s Open earned her a prize of $1.8 million, the biggest payout in women’s golf history. However, this amount was overshadowed by the record-breaking $3.15 million won by England’s Matt Fitzpatrick for winning the men’s event only one week later.
Grant’s groundbreaking victory has garnered global attention, and she is hopeful that it will further advance the state of women’s sports.
“I believe many individuals can identify with women’s golf, possibly even more than the men’s version,” she stated. This could be due to the fact that “men hit the ball so far and the courses are not challenging enough.”
I hope our performance showcases our skills and ability to hit long shots, accurate shots, make putts, and score effectively. This will hopefully make people take notice of our team.
“I hope for greater awareness among others. As a result, we will appear more pleasant and kind.” Grant chuckled as he spoke.
At just 23 years old, Grant’s recent win in Halmstad is the most recent highlight in his rapidly progressing career. He turned professional in 2021 and has been on a meteoric trajectory ever since.
Grant has achieved three victories in the span of four months on the Ladies European Tour (LET), propelling her to second place in the rankings for The Race to Costa del Sol. The LET season consists of 28 tournaments and will culminate with the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España in November to crown a winner. Despite having played in the fewest events among the top-nine scoring players on the Tour, Grant holds the lead over the rest of the competition.
Although many players find it difficult to transition from amateur to professional, Grant has excelled.
Grant stated that during his final year as an amateur, he found that when he was no longer in a position to win, it became less motivating for him.
“The realization that I am now playing for a living and money has suddenly made me feel like it is no longer important to stay in the zone. Even if I only make a birdie on the last hole, I can still earn more than if I hadn’t.”
The only player besting Grant in The Race to Costa del Sol is childhood friend Maja Stark. Teammates on the Swedish national team from a young age and students at the same high school, the duo share a close bond.
Grant stated, “I constantly support and encourage her and I believe she does the same for me, which I am aware she does.”
“It’s comforting to have someone who understands your situation and can discuss things that others may struggle to comprehend or simply cannot grasp.”
Grant has not allowed their friendship to hinder them from setting a goal to beat Stark and compete in Spain.
Johanna Gustavsson is currently behind Grant in The Race to Costa del Sol, with an all-Swedish group leading the way. This trio showcases the strong presence of Sweden on the LET tour and the increasing popularity of golf in the Nordic country. Sweden has already produced a golf legend.
Grant looks up to Annika Sorenstam as a strong role model. Sorenstam, who helped create the Scandinavian Mixed event, had an impressive career in women’s golf, winning 10 major titles and 72 LPGA tournaments before retiring in 2008.
Grant mentions two factors that have led to the increase in top female players in the country: the dedication and resources provided by the Swedish Golf Federation to expand the sport, and the unexpected impact of the cold Nordic weather.
Due to the snowy weather affecting the golfing season in Sweden, Swedish players are putting in additional effort to make the most out of their training. Grant is using the time she has lost for practice to engage in other activities, such as going to the gym, which will benefit her game.
“We are unable to play for a full 12 months, so you develop a tough skin,” she described. “In freezing temperatures, you must still go out and practice with wedges or whatever is necessary.”
By achieving a significant win at the Scandinavian Mixed event, it seems that Grant’s positive mindset is yielding results. This is aligned with her goal to expand the reach of the sport and serve as an inspiration for players of all genders.
“I am pleased if this victory can provide assistance or serve as additional motivation for anyone,” she stated.