‘We’re this good’: Swedish golf’s rising star hopes history-making win might be watershed second for girls’s sport

Clamoring for something and every thing within the Swede’s golf bag, they excitedly waved pens within the hopes of securing an autograph. Grant duly obliged, signing every thing from hats to golf balls.
It was a buzz worthy of a landmark achievement: Grant had simply turn into the first-ever feminine winner on the DP World Tour together with her victory on the Scandinavian Blended occasion on June 12.

And as if making historical past wasn’t sufficient, she did so in dominant style, cruising the 156-player discipline. A weekend-best eight-under 64 on the ultimate day confirmed an emphatic win, with Grant’s 24-under par seeing her end 9 photographs away from runners up Marc Warren and fellow Swede Henrik Stenson, and 14 photographs away from the following feminine participant, Gabriella Cowley.

The win was made all of the sweeter by the truth that it was a victory at dwelling — in all senses of the phrase. Boyfriend Pontus Samuelsson caddied, with family and friends supporting amongst an ecstatic Swedish crowd.

“The ambiance there, I may really feel that,” Grant advised CNN Sport. “I felt that it was simply because I used to be from there, however after sitting within the automobile on my approach dwelling, I noticed social media calls, journalists reaching out — every thing simply grew … it is a bit insane.”

Minjee Lee’s win on the US Ladies’s Open every week prior had seen the Australian scoop $1.eight million, the largest payout in women’s golf history. But Lee’s unprecedented earnings had been dwarfed by the major-record $three.15 million taken dwelling by England’s Matt Fitzpatrick for winning the men’s event only one week later.

Together with her historic win making worldwide headlines, Grant is optimistic her success will assist the ladies’s sport take one other step ahead.

US Women's Open champion Minjee Lee reflects on a 'big step' for women's golf after historic payout

“I feel lots of people can relate to girls’s golf,” maybe much more so than the lads’s sport, she mentioned, as a result of “they [men] hit to this point and the programs should not lengthy sufficient.”

“I hope it is going to have some kind of impact that individuals may take a look at it and see we’re a bunch of gamers who’re this good, hit the ball far sufficient, hit it shut sufficient, maintain the putts and rating effectively.

“I simply hope extra individuals understand that. After which we glance higher and we’re nicer too!” Grant added with fun.

Skilled ardour

Having solely turned 23 every week after the win, victory in Halmstad marked the newest peak in what has been a meteoric rise for Grant since turning skilled in 2021.

Three wins in 4 months on the Women European Tour (LET) have helped rocket Grant to second within the rankings in The Race to Costa del Sol, a 28-tournament LET season set to crown a winner on the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España in November. Extremely, she leads the chasing pack regardless of taking part in the fewest occasions of any of the top-nine scoring gamers on the Tour.

Whereas some gamers battle with the bounce from newbie to skilled, Grant has thrived.

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

“My final 12 months as an newbie, each time I dropped out of the zone of having the ability to win, it was nearly prefer it wasn’t motivating anymore,” Grant mentioned.

“The sensation that I am taking part in for cash now — that it is my dwelling — abruptly, I really feel prefer it does not matter [dropping out of the zone]. If I can simply make it birdie on the final I can nonetheless earn greater than if I did not.”

The one participant besting Grant in The Race to Costa del Sol is childhood buddy Maja Stark. Teammates on the Swedish nationwide crew from a younger age and college students on the similar highschool, the duo share a detailed bond.

“I at all times cheer her on and I hope she does the identical for me, which I do know she does,” Grant mentioned.

“It is good to have somebody there that is aware of the scenario you are in and to have the ability to discuss to about issues that different individuals both cannot get their head round or just do not perceive.”

Stark putts at the Scandinavian Mixed.

Swede goals

Not that their friendship has stopped Grant from declaring the need to chase down and beat Stark to Spain as one in every of her key season targets.

With Johanna Gustavsson trailing Grant, an all-Swedish trio on the summit of The Race to Costa del Sol displays the Nordic nation’s dominance on the LET and the rising inventory of golf in Sweden, which has already produced a legend within the sport.

In Annika Sorenstam, Grant has a towering position mannequin. Sorenstam, co-founder of the Scandinavian Blended occasion, cast one of many biggest careers in girls’s golf historical past with 10 main triumphs and 72 LPGA match wins earlier than her skilled retirement in 2008.
Grant is presented with the Scandanavian Mixed trophy by tournament hosts Annika Sorenstam and Henrik Stenson.

Grant cites two causes for the current surge of prime girls’s gamers within the nation: the funding and energy of the Swedish Golf Federation to develop the sport and, paradoxically, the cruel Nordic local weather.

As snowy circumstances minimize quick the golfing season within the nation, Swedish gamers should work further arduous to maximise coaching, with Grant placing “misplaced” observe time into different actions that may assist her sport, such because the gymnasium.

“We can’t play 12 months a 12 months, which provides you a little bit of thick pores and skin,” she defined. “It is zero levels, you simply need to go on the market and hit wedges or no matter you could observe on.”

Together with her historic victory within the Scandinavian Blended occasion, it seems that perspective is paying off — and serving to Grant in her mission to develop the game and act as a job mannequin, not only for girls however for all who play the sport.

“If that win may help anybody or simply give somebody a bit of additional motivation, I am completely satisfied,” she mentioned.

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