Grant becomes 1st female golfer to win on European tour

  • Linn Grant of Sweden plays from the first tee Sunday during the final round of the Scandinavian Mixed at Halmstad Golf Club, Sweden. (Pontus Lundahl/TT via AP)

A female player has won an event on the European tour for the first time.

Linn Grant made history in amazing style, too.

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The 22-year-old Swede obliterated a field of both male and female golfers at the Scandinavian Mixed event on Sunday, winning by nine strokes after an 8-under 64 in the final round at Halmstad Golf Club.

Remarkably, she finished 14 strokes clear of the next best woman, Gabriella Cowley, who placed tied for 15th.

“I just hope people recognize women’s golf more now,” Grant said, “that more sponsors go to the LET (Ladies European Tour) than to the men’s tour, and hopefully this pumps up the women’s game a little bit more.”

Grant started the day with a two-stroke lead and steadily built up her advantage by making birdie at five of her first six holes, demonstrating the brilliant ball-striking and calm temperament she has displayed all week in southern Sweden.

She first took a nine-stroke lead after tapping in for birdie at the par-5 11th hole and regained it with her eighth and final birdie of the round at another par 5, the 14th. She completed a bogey-free weekend for the week of her golfing life.

It is the second staging of a tournament that started with 78 men and 78 women in the field, playing the same course — albeit off different tees — for one prize fund and one trophy.

Grant said her main aim this week was to beat the men.

“That was the most important thing — the whole week, I just felt it was girls against the guys,” she said.

Grant’s grandfather, James, was a Scottish golf professional who emigrated from Inverness in northern Scotland to Helsingborg in Sweden.

McIlroy defends Canadian Open title in strong LIV response

TORONTO (AP) — Rory McIlroy won the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday and gave the PGA Tour a strong response to the start of the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational, closing with an 8-under 62 to win a wild race to the finish with Justin Thomas and Tony Finau.

McIlroy had his first title defense on the PGA Tour, even if he had to wait for it. He won golf’s fourth-oldest national open in 2019 at Hamilton Golf &Country Club, only for the the COVID-19 pandemic to cancel the next two editions. Thomas pushed him to the end at St. George’s Golf &Country Club, and the tournament effectively ended on the 17th hole. McIlroy and Thomas were tied and in the rough. McIlroy hit a wedge that rolled out to tap-in range, while Thomas missed a 10-foot par putt, a two-shot swing. Thomas closed with a pair of bogeys and still shot 64.

McIlroy finished at 19-under 261 for a two-stroke victory.

“I feel like it’s getting tougher and tougher to win on the PGA Tour,” McIlroy said. “Just look at the two guys that I played with today. I went out with a lead and had to shoot 8-under par to get the job done. So the depth of talent on this tour is really, really impressive. And going up against guys like J.T. and Tony and coming out on top, that’s something to feel really good about.”

Finau holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the 18th for a 64 to finish second alone.

“Rory played great,” Finau said. “He closed it out and hat’s off to him on a week like this. That’s fantastic playing on the weekend. I played great, he just played a couple shots better.”

Thomas was third at 14 under. Justin Rose matched the tournament- and course-record with a 60 — with three eagles and three bogeys — to tie for fourth with Sam Burns (65) at 14 under.

A week before the U.S. Open, the Canadian crowd was enormous having been kept away since 2019, and thousands surrounded the 18th green as the threesome of McIlroy, Thomas and Finau finished.

“It was really cool to be a part of and just really happy to get the win today and obviously sets me up well going into next week in Boston,” McIlroy said. “But right now I just want to enjoy this and focus on this.”

McIlroy has been one of the strongest opponents of the LIV Golf series and spoke out against the money being paid to players like Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson. Greg Norman, who runs the LIV Golf, said in a story in the Washington Post that McIlroy had been “brainwashed” by the PGA Tour.

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