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Linn Grant wins the Joburg Ladies Open in just her fourth start on the LET

Grant storms to sensational success in South Africa

Linn Grant.
Linn Grant.

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 22-year-old was co-leader with Maria Hernandez on -5 heading into the final day, but she was a cut above the rest on the final 18 holes at Modderfontein Golf Club, as she fired in a final round of 67 (-6) to win by five shots in Johannesburg on -11.

The victory for Grant was her third in the last month on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, having already claimed success at the 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.

“It’s always nice to get a win, it feels amazing. 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,” Grant said.

“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.”

Grant had already shown her calibre with two second-placed finishes on tour in 2021, after getting invites to the Didriksons Skaftö Open and the Creekhouse Ladies Open, but after earning her card at Q-School in December she wasted no time in making her mark as a full-time member.

The 2017 Ping Junior Solheim Cup star showed no signs of nerves as she teed off in the final group, 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.

A dropped shot on six was quickly forgotten about, with birdies on seven and eight leaving her at -9 at the turn with Kim Metraux her nearest challenger four shots back.

The smile was beaming across her face as she nonchalantly made her way down the back nine, with another birdie from off the green on 13 taking her to double digits under-par with five holes left to play.

And with the gallery watching as she walked down the last, Grant picked up one more shot on the 18th after the latest in a series of perfectly executed approaches onto the final green to finish on -11 overall.

“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 a huge opening, but still it was my first event,” Grant said.

“On the approach to the 18th I was going to aim pin high and to the right but I changed at the last minute to go for it, and it was a nervy putt to finish.

“It’s nice to have my dad on the bag, he’s been with me for so many tournaments – some wins, and some not – so it’s nice because we’re not together as much anymore, it’s always a nice feeling to have him here with me, especially when things like this happen.”

It was a career-best finish for Metraux in South Africa, with the Swiss star maintaining her good form from Friday into the weekend, as she rolled in four birdies on her way to a final day score of 71 (-2) and a second place finish.

The par-fives were proving fruitful for the left-hander, as she capitalised on the first, eighth and tenth holes to pick up shots, while dropping one on the eighth.

And the 26-year-old was delighted with her performance throughout the week, as she claimed a first top ten finish since the 2021 VP Bank Swiss Ladies Open last September with a birdie on the last, having bogeyed 17.

“It was quite good, I made a few mistakes today here and there, I had a couple of lip-outs but I was pleased with how I played again,” she said.

“I’m really pleased and happy to have come here to play that way and I’m proud of myself. I felt comfortable playing here and I really enjoyed the course.

“It was a bit more calm playing in the second to last group and I took some experience from Switzerland so I focused on my game and not anything else so I was happy with that.”

“I was annoyed with my mistake on 17 to make bogey, so I had to let it go and hit a good shot into the green on 18 so I was happy to make the putt and get a shot back.”

Three players tied for third spot in South Africa, with Alice Hewson and Hernandez finishing on -5 alongside home favourite Nicole Garcia, after rounds of 72 (-1), 73 (par) and 71 (-1) respectively.

Johannesburg-native Garcia rolled in back-to-back birdies to start her day, before dropping shots on three and seven to go back to level par.

But she responded brilliantly to those setbacks by getting an eagle on the eighth to make it two top ten finishes in as many tournaments this season.

“My strike was better today, but I just couldn’t get anything rolling on the back nine, I couldn’t get any momentum going” Garcia said.

“Hopefully my results keep getting better each week but we’ll see, we’ve got the Investec South African Women’s Open next week so I’m hoping I can carry on with my form that week.

“I’m incredibly proud because I’m from Joburg, I’ve played this course a few times and it’s really close to home so I’m really happy to be part of it.”

Elsewhere, American Kelly Whaley achieved a second consecutive top ten finish in sixth spot, as she finished on -4 overall after a final round 72 (-1), while Stacy Lee Bregman and Alexandra Swayne tied for seventh on -2.

Former Solheim Cup star Becky Brewerton and Kristyna Napoleaova round off the top ten on -1, with a further seven players tied on level-par.

Victory in Johannesburg takes Grant into a tie for the lead of the 2022 Race to Costa Del Sol on 500.00 points, and sees her sit level with Aramco Saudi Ladies International Georgia Hall and Magical Kenya Ladies Open victor Esther Henseleit.

Kim Metraux also finds herself rocketing up the rankings after her solid showing in South Africa, with the Swiss slotting in behind Johanna Gustavsson and Napoleaova in sixth position on 324.10 points.