Swedish amateur Linn Grant fired a bogey-free 67 in fine and breezy conditions at Buckinghamshire Golf Club this morning to take a two-stroke lead after the completion of 18 holes in the US Women’s Open sectional qualifier – Europe.
The 18-year-old from Helsingborg, who will rush home tonight to take a mathematics exam at 8am tomorrow morning, birdied all four of the par fives and added a fifth birdie at the par-four 12th hole.
The 2019 Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew, who is 30 years’ Grant’s senior, birdied her last two holes for an opening 69 to lie second in the 36-hole stroke play qualifier.
Coincidentally, Grant won the 2017 Ladies British Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Matthew’s home course, North Berwick in Scotland, in September. The win came 49 years after her grandfather, James Grant of Inverness, won the Scottish Boys Championship over the same East Lothian links.
After 18 holes, Austrians Christina Wolf and Sarah Schober were also well positioned in a tie for third on level par.
Today’s qualifier is being played at the home of the Ladies European Tour for the fifth consecutive year and after 36 holes, the leading four players will earn a spot in the US Women’s Open conducted by the USGA at Shoal Creek Golf Club in Alabama, taking place from May 31-June 3, 2018.
The championship boasts the highest purse in women’s golf at $5,000,000 and the USGA prides itself on setting up the grandest stages and the greatest test of golf.
Grant, a member of the 2017 European PING Junior Solheim Cup team, said: “I had a great morning. The greens were amazing and although it was tough, I liked the course very much. I didn’t have any expectations, so I just wanted to see how it would go. I started off with two easy birdies on 11 and 12, which were almost tap-ins, so that always helps.”