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26th March 2022 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dream Joburg Ladies Open win seals Grant’s SA hat-trick

It was a dream start to life on the Ladies European Tour (LET) for Linn Grant, as the Swedish star claimed a five-shot victory at the Joburg Ladies Open in her first start as a full member.

The victory for Grant was her third in the last month on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, having claimed success in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Dimension Data Ladies Challenge and Jabra Ladies Classic in February.

And she completed her South African hat-trick in style on Saturday, with the rest of the field having no answer for her incredible final round at Modderfontein Golf Club.

The 22-year-old from Helsingborg shared the lead with Spain’s Maria Hernandez on five-under at the 36-hole mark, but she was a cut above the rest over the last 18 holes, firing a six-under-par 67 to triumph on 11-under 208. 

“It’s always nice to get a win; it feels amazing,” said the smiling Grant. “It was great to come to the Sunshine Ladies Tour before the LET season began to make the most of the good weather and get some practice in.

“I still feel like there’s some scary holes here, especially coming in on the back nine. You have to keep your shots together and there’s a couple of holes you have to look out for on the front nine as well, so I tried not to do anything stupid really.” 

The 2017 Ping Junior Solheim Cup star showed no signs of nerves as she registered birdies on the first and second holes to create an early gap ahead of the chasing pack, before picking up another shot on the fifth to carve open a sizeable gap. 

She immediately negated a bogey on the sixth with birdies on seven and eight, turning at nine-under with her nearest challenge, Kim Metraux, four shots back.

A fifth birdie from off the green on 13 took Grant to double digits, and with the gallery watching as she walked down the last, she picked up one more shot on the 18th, the latest in a series of perfectly executed approaches onto the final green setting up a grandstand finish.

Grant, who earned cards for the 2022 LET and LPGA Tour at Q-School last year, had already shown her calibre with two runner-up finishes in 2021, making the most of invitations to the Didriksons Skaftö Open and the Creekhouse Ladies Open.

“I feel like with the two events in Sweden last year I got used to the LET a bit, so coming here this week wasn’t that huge a gap to cross, but still it was my first event,” said Grant.

Despite a four-shot cushion on the last hole, she admitted to feeling a little nervy over the final approach shot and putt. But her second turned out to be one of the best of the day. “I was going to aim pin high and to the right, but I changed at the last minute to go for it. The putt wasn’t that short, so it was nervy, but I was so happy I got it done with a birdie.”

It was a career-best finish for left-hander Metraux in South Africa.

The Swiss star maintained her good form from Friday into the weekend and reeled in four birdies on her way to a final day score of 71 (-2), capitalising on the par five first, eighth and tenth holes to pick up shots on her way to a sole second finish.

“It was quite good. I made a few mistakes here and there, and I had a couple of lip-outs but I was pleased with how I played again,” said the 26-year-old Swiss golfer of her first top 10 finish since last September.

Nicole Garcia was the highest finishing South African, coming home in two-under 71 to tie for third alongside 2020 Investec South African Women’s Open Alice Hewson from England (72) and Hernandez (73). 

Garcia began the day with back-to-back birdies to start her day, but bogeys on three and seven dropped her back to level par. She responded brilliantly with an eagle on the eighth and parred her way to successive top 10 finishes in as many LET tournaments this season. 

“My strike was better today, but I couldn’t get any momentum going with the putter on the back nine,” Garcia said. “I am happy to see my game trend in the right direction, though and hopefully that trend continues to the Investec South African Women’s Open at Steenberg next week.”

Proudly South African, the Johannesburg-native welcomed the move from the City of Johannesburg to take the tournament to co-sanctioned status.

“The Joburg Ladies Open has always been really popular, and we local golfers are so incredibly grateful to Bongi Mokaba and the City of Johannesburg for this move. To have two chances to gain winner’s status on the LET is a huge incentive for us,” she said. “But you know, even if you don’t win, just to have the international competition on our shores for two weeks is massive, especially for the young pros who can’t afford to compete abroad.”

Investec stable-mate Stacy Lee Bregman and Alexandra Swayne from US Virgin Islands tied for seventh on two-under, while GolfRSA’s No 1-ranked amateur Isabella van Rooyen finished third highest a further two shot adrift in the tie for 11th. 

Grant’s earlier victories on the Sunshine Ladies Tour moved her to the summit of the Investec Order of Merit, and she is virtually untouchable on 3 032 points, with Garcia her nearest challenger for the title on 1 224. The Swede also banked 500 points with the win to take pole position in the 2022 Race to Costa Del Sol alongside Aramco Saudi Ladies International winner Georgia Hall and Magical Kenya Ladies Open victor Esther Henseleit.

25th February 2022 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

More Sunshine Ladies Tour glory for Grant at Glendower

Linn Grant of Sweden turned it all on at Glendower Golf Club on Friday as she carded a superb seven-under-par 65 to pull clear for a two-stroke victory in the R1-million Jabra Ladies Classic.

Grant is certainly taking the Sunshine Ladies Tour tagline “Level Up” to heart, as this marked her second visit to the winner’s circle in her debut season, after she celebrated a maiden pro win in the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge at Fancourt a fortnight ago.

In the end, it was a bit of a race against time as the leaders cranked up the pace of play – as well as the quality – to beat in incoming highveld thunder storm. It took a buggy ride to their tees shots to play their approaches as quickly as possible.

Grant made two birdies in the final four holes in response to Paul Reto’s three birdies in three from the 13th to the 15th, and, when Reto bogeyed the 16th, the Swede took the gap and stretched out for the win

“We rushed on the 18th because we knew there was a storm coming in and we had been told we had 15 minutes or half an hour to make it in,” said Grant. “That was a little stressful.”

In fact, she felt things were stressful for most of the closing stretch as she did battle with Reto who had won so handily last week at Sun City. “I was very nervous, like for the last five holes,” said Grant. “I knew that we were tied for the lead for much of the time, and Paula holed a very long putt on 13, which tied it up again, so I was nervous, but it was fun too.”

It was a bogey-free effort for Grant, who turned in three-under 33 to move to six-under for the tournament, level with overnight leader Reto who turned in one-under 35.

Just before the turn, Grant had begun to apply the pressure with two of her birdies on that front nine coming on seven and eight. She put pedal to the metal after the turn with two successive birdies pulling her clear, while Reto made just pars after the turn.

Then came Reto’s run from 13 to 15, which drew her level after the 14th, and exchanged birdies on 15 kept them locked up at nine-under.

But once Reto made her bogey, Grant was able to close things out, denying the LPGA Tour player a double victory after her SuperSport Ladies Challenge success at Sun City last week.

Nobuhle Dlamini of Swaziland finished with a two-under-par 70 to be third on four-under, and Casandra Alexander endured a frustrating final round during which she birdied just one of the par-fives on her way to a three-under, and a share of third at three-under with reigning Investec South African Women’s Open champion Lee-Anne Pace.

Marine Legentil, the 2022 South African Women’s Amateur champion, edged reigning South African Women’s Stroke Play winner Kiera Floyd & SA Women’s Amateur finalist Kyra van Kan in a count-out on eight-over-par 224 for the Leading Amateur trophy.

For Grant, her South African campaign has been a vindication of hard work and of the decision to play here before launching herself on the Ladies European Tour.

“It’s been good, and I’ve seen that my game is headed in the right direction,” said 2021 Arizona State graduate. “One thing I’ve learned, especially from today, is that regardless of where you play, the competition against yourself kind of gets into your head a little bit and dealing with that well helps a lot.”

The Swede is taking a week off to explore the attractions in Cape Town before she returns to Fancourt to prepare for the two upcoming tournaments co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour – the €250 000 Joburg Ladies Open at Modderfontein Golf Club from 24 – 26 March, and the season-finale Investec South African Women’s Open in Cape Town. This year’s 72-hole event carries a purse of €290 000 and will be hosted by Steenberg Golf Club from 30 March-2 April.

23rd February 2022 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Grant in the hunt again at Glendower

Sweden’s Linn Grant carded a three-under-par 69 on Wednesday at Glendower Golf to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Ladies Classic.

On a day when there were plenty of bogeys on plenty of scorecards, Grant’s single bogey was an impressive feat, and, combined with four birdies, it gave her the lead over reigning Investec South African Women’s Open champion Lee-Anne Pace.

Pace had two bogeys on her card, and she, in turn, finished one clear of England’s Florentyna Parker, last week’s champion Paula Reto and Cara Gorlei.

Grant signalled a warning to the field when she fired a round of 62 in the pro-am on Tuesday, but the 21-year-old from Helsingborg made some adjustments in the opening round.

“I knew from yesterday’s pro-am that you could end up chasing it too much, so I just tried to keep my cool and make the birdies as they came to me,” said Grant, who won the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge two weeks ago. “I just did things as usual, played my game.

“It was a solid round. I think I missed two fairways, and just one or two greens. I was not as close to the pins as I was in the pro-am, but I took the chances that I got and I made the birdies that I could. I reached some of the par-fives, and just kind of hung in there.”

Pace started her round on the 10th and pulled herself back into contention after her bogeys on the third and fifth threatened to derail her round.

Birdies on six and eight got her back on track. She played with LPGA Tour campaigner Reto, who started with two birdies and dropped no shots on her opening nine. The par-three sixth, however, saw her give up a shot for her only drop of the day.

Parker, however, was not as fortunate as Pace and Reto. She was on course to hold the first-round lead until a double-bogey six on the 18th saw her slip two shots off the pace.

Further back, in a share of sixth place, Casandra Alexander spent most of her round fighting off the shock of a double-bogey six on her opening hole, the 10th. She birdied the 11th but dropped two more shots ahead of the turn on 12 and 14. She slipped even further back with another dropped shot on the fourth, but she showed the value of hanging in there as she finished with a flourish with two birdies and an eagle in her final five holes.

Alexander shared sixth at level-par with Norway’s Celine Karlung, Moa Folke of Sweden, Germany’s Verena Gimmy and 17-year-old amateur Kiera Floyd.

In-form Floyd could be one to watch over the next two days as she makes her first Sunshine Ladies Tour appearance at the course where she won the Ekurhuleni Women’s Open and Junior Open titles in October last year.

The GolfRSA No 2 played in the leading group in the inaugural event three years ago and placed an impressive third behind winner Anne-Lise Caudal and runner-up Nobuhle Dlamini. In the past two weeks she lifted the South African Women’s Stroke Play Championship title and won the Gauteng North Junior Open.

For Grant, it’s just playing what she sees in front of her. “It’s just day one, so anything can happen,” she said. “Lee-Anne and the others are just one behind, and that’s a bogey on the first hole and then they’re even.

“I’ve been working on some stuff, and, although it’s only the beginning of the year, to get a win like I did in George boosts your confidence. Just to know in my pre-season that what I’m doing is working is a nice feeling.”