Linn Grant: Was this the best performance of the year so far?

Words by
Josh Coles
Linn Grant: Was this the best performance of the year so far?

The halfway point in the year feels like an opportune moment to take stock and celebrate one of the standout performances of 2022. Linn Grant’s nine-shot victory at the Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed earlier this month was just that. The 22-year-old Swede not only became the first female player to win on the DP World Tour but she did so emphatically.

Naysayers on social media immediately tried to downplay her achievement by claiming she had a big advantage by playing off forward tees. An excellent article by Hannah Holden of National Club Golfer, however, exposed this theory as a myth, showing that by playing a course measuring 5,929 yards, 15 per cent shorter than the one played by the men, the women players were still disadvantaged in terms of the club they hit for their approach on more holes (six) than they weren't. Eight holes required the men and women to play the same club in from an ‘average drive’ with only four giving the women the slight advantage of a shorter club. So much for the idea of this mixed-gender event being unfairly weighted towards the 72 women in the field.

Beyond the size of her winning margin and the fact she finished 14 shots clear of the next best female player, Grant’s Clippd data shows just how good her performance was at Halmstad Golf Club in Sweden. 

It's important to note is that Clippd’s Shot Quality and Player Quality benchmarks are currently based on men's tour data so what you see below compares Grant not with her fellow players of the Ladies European Tour, where she has already won three titles this year, but with her male counterparts competing on the two major men’s tours. 

An Average Shot Quality of 119 ARG for her first round of the tournament

The first thing that jumps out in her Clippd Round Insights is the quality of her touch around the greens. In the first round of the tournament (see above), Grant produced an Average Shot Quality of 119 for ARG (Around The Green), one of the highest we’ve seen in professional golf in recent months. This included a chip-in from the fairway, which scored 192 for Shot Quality. Only her 35-foot birdie putt on the 9th hole scored higher (193 for Shot Quality). 

Her impressive short game continued into her third round 66 where she finished with an Average Shot Quality of 118 for ARG. Linn narrowly missed out on becoming a member of Clippd’s 200 Club when she a holed a chip shot from 17 yards, scoring 199 for Shot Quality (see below).

Linn Grant's third round and her 199 Shot Quality

You might assume that the rookie pro would have been nervous going into the final round with a two-shot lead and the chance to make history. Opening with five birdies in her first six holes rather made a mockery of that. After sealing her comfortable victory, she confirmed how confident she had felt throughout. On the first fairway, she had turned to her caddie, who is her partner, and confessed that she was actually “very calm” and believed winning “was very doable”.

Grant shot a closing 64, eight under par, with an Average Shot Quality of 104. All departments of her game scored over 100, which confirms how consistently good she was across the board.

Linn's final round was incredibly consistent

Her APP (Approach) play during her last round was especially sharp, scoring an Average Shot Quality of 106. Six out of the 15 approach shots she hit achieved Shot Quality scores of over 130. Her average proximity to the hole was 34’ 1”, almost four feet closer than the LPGA and PGA Tour averages (see below). She also hit no shots that scored below 40 for Shot Quality, something that had us double checking the data because it's so rare.

She went bogey-free in her closing round, ending the tournament at 24 under par and a long way clear of her closest rivals, tournament co-host Henrik Stenson and Scotland's Marc Warren.

Grant's putting was strong throughout the final round

At a time when debate rages on how best to grow and promote the game of golf for future generations, both male and female, it’s hard to think of a better or more inspiring example than Linn Grant. In her post-round interview, this new star of European golf was asked if beating the men was particularly important to her. "For sure," she replied, "it was the most important thing." And after a performance like this one, who's to say she won't do it again?