After a year-long battle in the Race to Costa del Sol, it all comes down to the final LET event of the 2022 season – the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España.
Swedish stars Linn Grant and Maja Stark face off in the season-ending tournament and will battle it out at Alferini Golf to win the prestigious Race to Costa del Sol title.
It’s been a standout year for the duo, who only turned pro in August 2021, and saw them break into the top 50 of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.
Grant, who clinched LET Rookie of the Year a few tournaments ago, has 3,394.91 points to her name with compatriot and friend Stark just 69.77 points behind her heading into the final.
Four-time LET winner Grant said: “I feel like we’ve had an on-and-off battle throughout the year and it would be sad if it was over already. I’m glad he made it to the final event, and we’re fine. trying this week. Feels like it was meant to be like this, feels good.
“Especially now, it’s fun and nice to have someone to share each week and the situation with. Thinking back to the amateur events we participated in a few years ago; I think it’s going to be the same when you watch back and you’re like ‘wow that’s pretty cool’ without knowing 100% what that means right now.”
Stark added: “I will miss this season when I return home next week, and I realize that there is a month and a half left before the next tournament. I am so tired, but I have learned a lot this season and I have a lot of things I want to do differently.”
The Swedish duo won numerous trophies during the 2022 season, with Grant winning four titles throughout the year, starting with the Joburg Ladies Open, followed by the Mithra Belgian Ladies Open and the Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed, and finally of the Skaftö Open.
While Stark won two LET titles in 2021 just weeks after turning professional and followed that up with three more victories this season starting with the Women’s NSW Open, then the Amundi German Masters and finally the ISPS Handa World Invitational – where she earns her LPGA Tour card.
But for all their victories on the course, it was the moments shared off the golf course that made this season even more special.
Stark explained: “When I look back on the year, it’s not the results that stand out, it’s more the fact that it’s been so much fun hanging out with a friend all year.
“All the competitions we did together, one of my favorite moments was at the Amundi German Masters and we were so tired. We were sharing a room and talking and something stupid happened and we were dying of laughter. That was the best part of doing this together. It’s fun that one of us is going to win too.
The pair have been drawn alongside defending champion Carlota Ciganda and the group will face off in the first round at 12:05 local time.
As the Race to Costa del Sol 2022 comes to the final event, there are several scenarios, the main ones being that Grant can finish ahead of or even with Stark and she will win the title, while Stark must beat her compatriot to have a chance of winning.
But what will each player think if he is tight before the last holes of the tournament?
“It depends on the situation,” said Grant. “The finishing holes here are two par fives and one par three, I think you can be pretty aggressive – which we both are.
“As far as I’m concerned, I think I’m going to stick to being aggressive on these holes. Coming on the 18th, it might be a bit scary with the wind, the water and I think it might be a two-putt-and-out situation.
While Stark added: “We’re both very aggressive players and we don’t hold back even though we have a lead. The plan is to keep pushing for birdies and we’re also playing against ourselves and you always want to do better for yourself- If I were to just take the pars and go and Linn ended up doing two birdies to pass me, I’d be annoyed at myself, so I don’t think there’s any point in holding me back.”
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