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Linn Grant wins Dana Open for first LPGA Tour title

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SYLVANIA, Ohio — Linn Grant won her first LPGA Tour title after an outstanding start to her career in Europe, enduring a charge from U.S. Women’s Open champion Allisen Corpuz and closing with a 3-under 68 for a three-shot victory in the Dana Open on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Grant has five victories on the Ladies European Tour — including a history-making nine-shot victory last year against a field of men and women in the Scandinavian Mixed — and earned LPGA membership starting last season. But she did not play in the United States until this year, when the U.S. dropped its COVID-19 vaccination requirement for foreign travelers. The Swede did not disclose her reasons for remaining unvaccinated, calling it a private matter.

Now she’s an LPGA winner and a lock to represent Europe in the Solheim Cup this fall in Spain.

“I think I’ve imagined this day so many times in so many ways in my own mind,” Grant said. “Just being here now, I’m just so speechless and at the same time I feel familiar with the setting for some reason. But it’s just so fun.”

Grant entered the day with a six-shot lead after a 62 on Saturday. She parred her first seven holes, chipped in for birdie from behind the green on the par-3 eighth, and still led by six at the turn. But Corpuz, a week after she won at Pebble Beach for her first LPGA title, made it interesting with birdies on four of the last five holes to shoot 65 and get within two shots.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s one shot or six or whatever it is. Like, it’s just awful. You just stress all the way,” Grant said. “From the second I teed off to the last putt I’m just shaking, stressed, tense. It’s fun, but also very not very fun.”

Grant saved par on the par-4 16th and finished with a birdie on the par-5 18th, reaching the green in two with a 3-wood that she didn’t think she could get there. Her four-day total at Highland Meadows was 21-under 263.

“I think it’s easy to just go out and think that, well, I’ll just go out there and I’ll win. In my mind I’m still thinking that someone could come from behind and shoot a 9 under,” Grant said. “And so in my head I still had to — like if I could just shoot 2, 3 under today, which I did, that would probably get me there.”

A week after her triumph at Pebble Beach, Corpuz did not shoot worse than 68 over four rounds in Ohio.

“Really just focused on getting rest the whole week. Didn’t get any sleep Sunday night and then travel day Monday,” Corpuz said. “So I was a little tired, but just tried to stay focused throughout.”

Corpuz moves to fourth in the Race to CME Globe standings.

“My game’s just felt like it’s in a really good spot,” she said. “Just haven’t really put four solid rounds together until, obviously, last week and this week.”

Lindy Duncan also closed with a 65 and was alone in third, six shots back. Xiyu Janet Lin (67) and Stephanie Kyriacou (69) were another shot behind. Kyriacou played in the final group and had her best LPGA finish.

“I learned a whole lot about the mental side of golf. How to deal with nerves and all that stuff,” the Australian said. “So a lot of things to take away from this week, even though one wasn’t a trophy.”

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