She's had an LPGA card for 17 months. Now Linn Grant is finally making her first start in the U.S.
You see a résumé that has just six starts in her first year on the LPGA Tour in 2022, and you wonder if Sweden’s Linn Grant had limited status as a rookie. Probably too, the 23-year-old had to make a return trip to Q-Series last fall to earn her card back for 2023. But drill a little deeper and you’ll also notice she finished 56th on the CME Points list, earning full playing privileges in 2023.
Drill even deeper and something else stands out: Not one of those six starts in 2022, or the three she has made in 2023, came in the United States.
Which is what makes this week a much anticipated event for the 23-year-old as she tees it up at the Bank of Hope Match-Play in Las Vegas. It’s the first time she will be competing on American soil as a LPGA member. Earlier this month, the U.S. government lifted its COVID-19 vaccination requirements for international travelers coming from overseas, which kept Grant from coming stateside last year after playing two seasons of college golf at Arizona State and earning her LPGA card at Q-Series in December 2021.
"I think actually looking back at it now, I really appreciate not coming here earlier," Grant said during a Tuesday press conference at Shadow Creek Golf Club, site of this week’s event. "I think I wouldn't have had the experience I've had with the LET and all the confidence that I've gained through that year. I think that was a great year for me to kind of get into professional golf and learn about my game and traveling and getting used to all the stuff you have to get used to. So I feel like I'm more prepared now coming here now than I would've been a year ago. I'm just really think everything happens for a reason."
Due to her inability to get into LPGA events, Grant spent most of last year competing on the Ladies European Tour, winning four times in 17 starts and earning Rookie of the Year honors along with the Race to Costa del Sol title, the LET's order-of-merit award. She also was a nine-shot winner at the Scandinavian Mixed, a tournament with male and female golfers competing together for one prize that was co-sponsored by the LET and the DP World Tour. That’s why Grant can boast of being the first woman to claim a tournament title on the men’s Old World circuit.
Grant's first four LPGA starts in 2022 came in Europe, where she made a splash in her debut at the Amundi Evian Championship with a final-round 64 to finish T-8. She also finished T-19 at the AIG Women's Open, her only other major start of the year. Grant ended the season with three straight top-10s, including a third-place finish at the TOTO Japan Classic.
The successful year across both tours vaulted her from 258th in the Rolex Women's World Rankings at the start of 2022 to No. 27 to begin 2023, to No. 22 entering this week after a fifth LET win earlier this month.
"I'm just going to continue on this path now and just really enjoy it and enjoy being a professional golfer I guess," said Grant, who finished T-21 last week in Aramco Team Series event at Trump National in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Grant’s impressive play under unusual circumstances lends credence to her achieving her most important LPGA goals. She wants to make this year's Solheim Cup team—given her Rolex Ranking spot and notable lead on the LET points list, that appears a near given. Grant also eyes winning multiple LPGA events, including a major.
But for now, her main focus is adjusting to playing in the States, where she’ll compete in pool play against Maddie Szeryk, Eun-Hee Ji and Elizabeth Szokol. "I'm just going to try and enjoy and not think too much about it and get into the mood that this is my workplace now," Grant said.
With how well she's played so far, it will likely be her workplace for a while.