Linn Grant: How will Swede's historic victory over men help boost the women's game in golf?
The Swede ended the week on 24 under at the Scandinavian Mixed, nine ahead of Scotland's Marc Warren and tournament co-host Henrik Stenson, with Grant's total some 14 shots better than nearest female challenger Gabriella Cowley
Last Updated: 13/06/22 3:24pm
Linn Grant hopes her Scandinavian Mixed victory can help bring a new audience to the women’s game after becoming the first female winner in DP World Tour history.
In a week where golf's structure and growing the sport was discussed more than ever, following the launch of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series, Grant planted her name in the record books at an event co-sanctioned between the DP World Tour and Ladies European Tour.
Playing alongside her male counterparts over the same course at Halmstad GC and playing for one prize fund, Grant pulled clear of the field with a brilliant bogey-free 64 on the final day in Sweden.
Grant took a two-shot lead into the final day at Halmstad Golf Club and never relinquished control during a special Sunday, birdieing five of her opening six holes on her way to a nine-stroke victory.
"I just hope that people recognise women's golf more, sponsors go to the Ladies European Tour and hopefully this pumps up the women's game a little bit more," Grant said after her victory.
"I didn't see it [the lead] until the 13th green, where the screen was, and it was a little bit [of a shock]. I thought maybe three or four ahead, but then when I saw eight I was like I can actually breathe out a little bit and go on and do my thing."
When asked how much the thought of beating the men was a motivating factor, Grant added: "For sure, that was the most important thing! It's a nice feeling and all week I've just felt it was the girls against the guys and whoever picked up the trophy was representing that side of the field."
Grant's rapid rise to the history books
The 22-year-old was still an amateur when she finished tied-18th in last year's contest, with Grant only turning professional last August after completing university at Arizona State.
Grant had two second-place finishes in the Didriksons Skafto Open and Creekhouse Ladies Open on the LET, before winning the Terre Blanche Ladies Open on the LET Access Series in October.
The Swede secured status on both the LPGA Tour and LET later that year and headed to South Africa, where she claimed two victories on the Sunshine Ladies Tour before securing her first LET win in the co-sanctioned Joburg Ladies Open.
Grant enjoyed further success in Belgium two weeks ago, with her Scandinavian Mixed win her sixth victory in just 10 months as a professional.
Sorenstam: Grant's win shows quality of the women's game
Tournament co-host Annika Sorenstam played alongside Grant for the first two rounds in Sweden, with the 10-time major champion impressed with what she saw and backing her compatriot to enjoy more future success.
"What a performance!" Sorenstam said. "I'm so excited and so happy for Linn. She has played very well, running away from the field, but it has been nice to see her up and play really solid golf. This golf course is not as she has made it seem!
"This shows that we can play against each other in a fair competition and I hope we can use this and people see the quality of women's golf - Linn couldn't prove it any other way.
"To come to Sweden, to have this tournament and have a Swedish winner on home turf, it doesn't get much better than that! We're all about entertainment, all about having fun and all about providing something special and I think that Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed has definitely done that."
On whether Grant could become a new star in the women's game, Sorenstam added: "I hope so. I've gotten to know Linn a little bit, she has played some of the Annika Foundations events, but she has really blossomed over the last year and a half or so.
"I played with her the first two days and she was very impressive. She hit it high, hit it long and didn't really make a lot of mistakes. To be so aggressive on the greens, it takes a little bit of experience. I know she has won recently but she's quite new to the winner's circle."
Should the women play from the same tees as men?
Dame Laura Davies praised Grant's display and heralded the success of the mixed event, although warned against pushing the women back to playing from the same tees as their male counterparts.
"It's amazing," Davies told Sky Sports. "I know she has beaten all the guys from the [DP World] Tour but she was 14 shots ahead of the next girl in Gabriella Cowley, who was down there at 10 under.
"People can say the golf course was set up too easy because she did what she did, but she beat her direct peers by 14 shots, so the course set-up wasn't too easy necessarily. I think she's a player that is on the up and she just put it all together this week."
When asked whether she felt the winning margin could see women playing off the same tees as men in future, Davies added: "I've tried a couple of times, Annika [Sorenstam] did it at Colonial and Michelle Wie played quite a few times and I can assure you it's a completely different ball game.
"If you put her back on the tees, she would do well to break 80. That's not me being mean, that's just the length. Instead of hitting wedges, nine irons and sand irons, you would be going in with rescues and three-woods into par-fours and par-threes. It's like comparing apples and oranges.
"The way they set the golf course up this week was brilliant, because a girl has won it and the men were really high up on the leaderboard, so no one can complain. But as for playing on the back tees [going forward], no, I can't see that happening.
"Lexi Thompson plays a little bit in that mixed event with Tony Finau and she kind of holds her own, but she's one of our very longest players. It's not just worth entertaining the thought I don't think."