Swedish Solheim rookies recall amateur blunder, push for pairing
As a Solheim Cup newbie, Linn Grant knows she’s prone to a few rookie mistakes this week at Finca Cortesin.
“Even though you try to do everything as good as you can, I think there’s always going to be mistakes … and I think a lot of players makes the same ones,” Grant said. “I think if you can kind of get your head around working it out before anything too stupid happens, I think that’s good.”
Nothing, however, can likely top her gaffe at the 2021 European Ladies Team Championship at Royal County Down. She was playing foursomes alongside her Swedish teammate Maja Stark, and they were rolling in the final against England’s Charlotte Heath and Annabell Fuller. They’d end up winning, 5 and 4, but not without losing a hole for playing out of order, Stark hitting a drive on a hole where Grant was supposed to tee off.
“That was pretty stupid,” Stark recalls. (England would go on to defeat Sweden for the title.) “… We just said during the rules meeting yesterday, remember to not do that again.”
Mistakes aside, Grant and Stark are a comfortable pair – and extremely talented. A year ago, they finished Nos. 1 and 2 on the Ladies European Tour’s order of merit, Grant barely edging out Stark. Grant, 24 years old and ranked No. 15 in the Rolex Rankings, has won seven times on the LET since turning pro after two seasons at Arizona State in 2021. The 23-year-old Stark, who also spent two years at Oklahoma State and turned pro around the same time as Grant, owns eight pro wins, including her maiden LPGA victory last year at the ISPS Handa World Invitational, though she’s slipped to No. 40 in the world rankings.
As amateurs, Grant and Stark were teammates at the 2017 Junior Solheim Cup and 2020 Arnold Palmer Cup, among other team events. At the that Palmer Cup, neither player lost a match with Stark and Grant notching a foursomes point together. Stark also won two matches alongside Ludvig Aberg, who attended the same high school as Stark and Grant, Riksidrottsgymnasium, a national upper secondary sports school in Helsingborg, Sweden.
Together, Grant and Stark give Europe captain Suzann Pettersen an exciting option in team play.
“I think we’ve just been letting her know that we’ve been playing really well together, and we’re comfortable with each other, especially coming into a situation like this where it’s new,” Grant said. “We’re going to be nervous. It’s going to be a lot of pressure on our shoulders. We just said that we’re comfortable together if she wanted to play us together.”