After a seven week hiatus the Ladies European Tour was back and so was Linn Grant, back in the winner's circle for a fifth time.
Report by the LET
Sweden’s Linn Grant came from behind on a dramatic final day at the Jabra Ladies Open to pip Anne van Dam by two shots on nine-under-par and clinch her fifth title on the Ladies European Tour (LET).
Starting the day tied with the Dutch star on seven-under-par in France, Grant got off to a nervy start at Evian Resort Golf Club when she bogeyed her first hole on the opening par-4.
With Italy’s Alessandra Fanali and France’s Celine Herbin also in the mix, the Swede then dropped another shot on the par-4 6th before van Dam birdied the following hole to stretch their gap to three shots.
"I knew there was a lot of birdie opportunities out here," Grant said. "So I knew if I kept calm and did what I usually do, I'd be able to bounce back sooner or later."
Approaching the turn, Grant regained her composure to post back-to-back birdies on the 9th and 10th with van Dam unable to respond.
A tense back nine then saw a string of pars from the duo with fellow Swede Johanna Gustavsson closing in after four birdies in 12 holes moved her to six-under-par.
The 15th then proved to be the turning point. Leading the charge, Gustavsson found trouble down the right to eventually post a double-bogey and see her title charge drift away.
A group later, Herbin made a clutch birdie to move to seven-under-par before Grant also birdied the par-5 after reaching the green in two. Van Dam was then unable to match the pair after hitting the bunker, leaving a grandstand finish with the Dutch star and Grant tied on eight-under-par.
"[Anne] made me focus a bit more," Grant continued. "I knew she could make birdies at any moment so I had to be aggressive. The birdie on 15 gave me some hope. Then I just kept being patient knowing that 18 was coming up."
One hole later, van Dam failed to get up and down again as Grant saved par to take the lead.
Chasing Grant for the first time since Thursday, van Dam dropped another shot on the 17th to give the 23-year-old a two-shot advantage over her with Herbin the clubhouse leader on seven-under par.
After reaching the green in two on the par-5 18th for a third consecutive day, Grant would two-putt for birdie for a 69 (-2) to win by two shots and claim her fifth LET title, and first with coach Steven Jeppesen on the bag.
"I'm feeling really happy," the Swede said. "This course is tricky and I feel like today with some patience and good golf I really managed to hold on. I'm really happy. I said to my coach that if I win I want to get pancakes, so we'll see!"
A birdie finish for van Dam saw her end the week tied second alongside Herbin on seven-under-par.
In a tie for fourth on six-under-par finished Gustavasson, Fanali, and her Italian teammate Virginia Elena Carta - who soared up the leaderboard on the final day with a 67 (-4).
The final leaderboard for the 2023 Jabra Ladies Open can be found here.
Race to Costa del Sol standings
In the 2023 Race to Costa del Sol, Grant now leaps into second place in the standings on 968.33 points after collecting 500 points for winning her first event of the campaign.
India's Aditi Ashok still leads the way despite having not tee'd up in France with 1,210,00 points. Spain's Ana Peláez Trivino is third on 862.33 points.
The LET now moves to Florida for the second Aramco Team Series event of the season.
Jin Young Ko becomes three-time Cognizant Founders Cup winner
As the sun set over Upper Montclair Country Club, a familiar name rose to the top of the leaderboard. After shooting her best round of the week, a bogey-free 67, Jin Young Ko became a 15-time winner on the LPGA Tour with a par on the first play-off hole to defeat defending champion Minjee Lee.
The 2019 and 2021 Cognizant Founders Cup champion, Ko headed into her last hole on Sunday one shot behind the leader, Lee. After her tee shot landed in the fairway and her approach shot on the green, Ko had confidence walking up the green on 18 despite a roughly 25-foot putt for birdie.
“I thought I would make it because I had three birdies at 18 hole the last three days,” Ko said “So, yeah, I felt I can make it, and I made it.”
Ko’s birdie on 18 put her in a tie for first after Lee bogeyed 16, which played as the most difficult hole on Sunday with only two birdies made there during the final round. With Ko in the clubhouse, Lee’s fate was in her own hands heading onto the final hole. After overshooting the green on her approach shot, the crowd sighed as her chip on the 18th narrowly missed the hole and she tapped in a par. Then, she headed back to the 18th tee with formerly two-time champion Ko.
After both players found the fairway and then the green, a three-putt on the first play-off hole cost Lee the title as Ko tapped in a par to become the 2023 Cognizant Founders Cup champion, and the fifth player this season to win in a play-off. The Korean is the only player to win the event three times and has done so on three different golf courses.
“Yeah, that's interesting because 2019 was Phoenix; 2021 was the other course. I played this course last year, but how I played -- wasn't good,” said Ko. “So I thought, yeah, this golf course really tough. Just I thought before this week I thought, oh, just make the cut and just finish top 10 or 20. But I made it. Surprise.”
South African Ashleigh Buhai shot a final round two-under-par to come to a solo third place finish, her best result of the season. LPGA Tour rookie Hae Ran Ryu bogeyed her last two holes but finished fourth, five shots behind the leaders. Angel Yin earned her second top five finish in a row at the Cognizant Founders Cup tied fifth result alongside young star Atthaya Thitikul, who was a member of the winning Thailand Team at last week’s Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown, and Aditi Ashok, who finished tied second at the JM Eagle LA Championship just two weeks ago after losing in a play-off.
The LPGA now has a week off before heading to Las Vegas and the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards at Shadow Creek.
Jason Day returns to the winner's circle after five years
Jason Day has made his return to the top of the leaderboard just in time for the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. It's been a long time coming since his last win at the Wells Fargo Championship in 2018.
It has been difficult for Day on and off the course in recent years and to win on Mother's Day had a special significance, not only for his wife who is expecting their fifth child but because the Australian lost his mother after a long battle with cancer last year:
"It was very emotional to go through and to experience what she was going through, then I had injuries on top of all of that going on in my life," he said. "To be honest, I was very close to calling it quits. I never told my wife that, but I was okay with it, just because it was a very stressful part of my life."
The 35-year-old won the AT&T Byron Nelson with a fantastic nine-under-par final round to win by one shot at 23-under-par from Korean Si Woo Kim and American Austin Eckroat.
Day won the PGA Championship back in 2015 and now moves back into the top 20 in the world. Will he keep the momentum going into Oak Hill this week?
This week it's the men's second Major of the year as the PGA Championship takes place at Oak Hill in Rochester, NY.
Simon Forsstrom claims maiden DP World Tour title
Simon Forsstrom's final round 69 was enough to secure him the Soudal Open, his first DP World Tour victory. The Swede finished on 17-under-par, one ahead of fellow countryman Jens Dantorp, who shot a closing 67.
Dane Thorbjorn Olesen was two shots further back in third after posting a fantastic 66 on Sunday.
Forsstrom, who earned his DP World Tour card for this season with a two-shot victory at the final stage of DP World Tour Q-School in November, also won in Belgium on the Challenge Tour in 2016, which stood him in good stead for this week:
"I think the course suits me very well, it's pretty tight and short. I won on the Challenge Tour in Belgium, so I think Belgium is good! It's pretty similar to Sweden, the trees and the grass, so I think I feel very at home here."
It's Major week - so all eyes will be on Oak Hill. The tour returns to European soil the week after with the KLM Open in Holland.
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