The rising star of Swedish golf hopes that her historic victory will be a turning point for the women’s game, declaring “We are capable of this greatness.”

Estimated read time 6 min read

CNN  — 

After finishing her round at Halmstad Golf Club in Tylösand, Sweden, Linn Grant was surrounded by a crowd of enthusiastic young fans.

The group eagerly clamored for items from the Swedish golfer’s bag, waving pens in anticipation of getting an autograph. Grant willingly signed various items, including hats and golf balls.

On June 12, Grant made history by becoming the first woman to win on the DP World Tour at the Scandinavian Mixed event. This achievement created a lot of excitement and was considered a significant milestone.

Not only did she make history, but she did so with ease by outplaying the 156 other competitors. On the final day, she sealed her impressive victory with a weekend-best score of eight-under 64, finishing at 24-under par and leaving her closest competitors, Marc Warren and Henrik Stenson, nine shots behind. She also finished 14 shots ahead of the top female player, Gabriella Cowley.

The triumph was even more enjoyable because it was achieved on home turf – in every sense of the word. My significant other, Pontus Samuelsson, served as my caddie while my friends and family cheered me on in front of an ecstatic Swedish audience.

“I could sense the atmosphere there,” Grant shared with CNN Sport. “At first, I thought it was because I’m from there, but as I was driving home, I received messages and calls on social media and from journalists – everything just escalated…it’s quite overwhelming.”

Grant and and boyfriend Pontus Samuelsson celebrate victory.

Minjee Lee’s victory at the US Women’s Open the week before resulted in her earning $1.8 million, the biggest prize in the history of women’s golf. However, Lee’s remarkable earnings were overshadowed by the record-breaking $3.15 million received by England’s Matt Fitzpatrick for winning the men’s event just one week later.

Grant’s recent victory has gained international attention, and she believes it will have a positive impact on the advancement of women’s sports.

SOUTHERN PINES, NORTH CAROLINA - JUNE 05: Minjee Lee of Australia poses with the trophy after winning the 77th U.S. Women's Open at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club on June 05, 2022 in Southern Pines, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Minjee Lee, the champion of the 77th U.S. Women’s Open, proudly holds up the trophy at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines, North Carolina on June 05, 2022. Australian golfer Minjee Lee reflects on the significant progress for women’s golf after the event’s historic payout.

She stated that many individuals can identify with women’s golf, possibly even more than men’s golf, due to the fact that “men hit so far and the courses are not long enough.”

“I am hopeful that this will have an impact, where people will recognize our abilities as a team. We are skilled players who can hit the ball far, accurately, make crucial putts, and achieve high scores.”

“I simply wish for more individuals to recognize this. It would improve our appearance and demeanor as well!” Grant chuckled.

Professional passion

At just 23 years old, Grant achieved a significant victory in Halmstad shortly after celebrating his birthday. This win is the most recent milestone in his impressive journey since becoming a professional athlete in 2021.

Grant has achieved three victories within a 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. This 28-tournament LET season will determine a champion at the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España in November. Surprisingly, Grant is leading the group of contenders even though she has participated in the fewest number of events compared to the top nine players on the Tour.

Although many players face difficulties when transitioning from amateur to professional level, Grant has excelled.

Grant is in the hunt for The Race to Costa del Sol after a string of wins.

Grant stated that during his final year as an amateur, when he found himself unable to compete for a win, his motivation dwindled.

I suddenly have the realization that playing for money is now my job. In this moment, it doesn’t matter if I lose focus. If I can just make a birdie on the last hole, I can still earn more money than if I didn’t.

Maja Stark, a childhood friend of Grant, is currently the only player ahead of him in The Race to Costa del Sol. They have been teammates on the Swedish national team since they were young and also attended the same high school, fostering a strong bond between them.

“I constantly support her and I have faith that she reciprocates the same for me,” Grant expressed.

“It’s great to have someone who understands your situation and is available to talk about things that others may not comprehend or relate to.”

Stark putts at the Scandinavian Mixed.

Swede dreams

Grant has not let their friendship stop them from declaring that one of their main goals for the season is to chase down and defeat Stark in Spain.

Johanna Gustavsson trails Grant in The Race to Costa del Sol, where the top three spots are held by Swedish players. This highlights the strong presence of Sweden in the LET and the growing popularity of golf in the country, which has already produced a legendary player in the sport.

Grant has a strong role model in Annika Sorenstam. Sorenstam, who helped create the Scandinavian Mixed event, had an impressive career in women’s golf with 10 major wins and 72 LPGA tournament victories before retiring professionally in 2008.

Grant is presented with the Scandanavian Mixed trophy by tournament hosts Annika Sorenstam and Henrik Stenson.

Grant lists two factors that have contributed to the increase in top female golf players in the country: the Swedish Golf Federation’s dedication and resources in promoting the sport and the unexpected influence of the harsh Nordic weather.

Due to the wintry weather disrupting the golf season in Sweden, players from the country must put in extra effort to make the most of their training. Grant, for instance, is using the time she would have spent practicing on the course to engage in other activities, like working out at the gym, that will benefit her performance.

“We cannot play 12 months a year, which gives you a bit of thick skin,” she explained. “It’s zero degrees, you just have to go out there and hit wedges or whatever you need to practice on.”

Her positive mindset seems to have contributed to her recent win at the Scandinavian Mixed competition. This also aligns with her goal of promoting the sport and serving as a role model, not only for women but for all players.

She expressed, “I am pleased if my victory can serve as inspiration for others or give them a boost of motivation.”


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