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St Annes Old Links hosts final chance for Women’s British Open hopefuls

Bethany Garton during Final Qualifying for the Ricoh Women's British Open at St Annes Old Links
Bethany Garton during Final Qualifying for the Ricoh Women's British Open at St Annes Old Links
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Swedish amateur Linn Grant completed a superb international double when she carded a 10-under par 62 to top the leaderboard at the Ricoh Women’s British Open Final Qualifying at St Annes Old Links.

Grant had shot a 67 and a 70 to claim a seven-shot win at the US Women’s International Qualifier at Buckinghamshire and, two months later, she carded the low round of her career to leave the rest of a strong international field trailing in her wake.

The Swede began her round with four straight pars but then birdied the fifth, sixth eighth and ninth to go out in four-under par 32 and then raced home with further birdies and the 10th, 11th, 12th, 15th, 17th and 18th.

“That’s the low round of my career,” confirmed Grant.

“I didn’t start all that fast but once I got going I hit a lot of good irons and also putted very well. That was the key. It was one of those days when I thought I could hole every putt I had.”

Grant’s 62 saw her finish four shots ahead of England’s Chloe Frankish and five in front of a second English woman Rachael Goodall.

Frankish started her round with an eagle two on the 347-yard par-four first where she holed out from 30 yards off the green and followed that with a birdie at the 171-yard par-three third.

Her 66 transformed her fortunes after narrowly missing out on qualifying in each of the last two years.

“It’s great to make it this time because the first year I played I bogeyed the last and then lost in a play-off and then last year I missed by a shot.”

It also proved to be a good day for the Swedish amateur international colleague Frida Kinhult carded a four under par-68 to qualify in a share of fourth place alongside Norway’s Tonje Daffinrud, Israel’s Laetitia Beck, England’s Inci Mehmet, America’s Robynn Ree, Finland’s Ursula Wikstrom and Haeji Kang from South Korea.

Both Grant and Kinhult per part of the Swedish team that won last month’s European Amateur Team Championdship in Austria.

There was a total of 17 places up for grabs at the Final Qualifier and at the end of the day former US Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer was one of 12 players who carded a three-under par 69 and then had to go out again to battle for the seven spots in the field at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

Twelve months ago Creamer successfully came through the qualifier at the Castle course in St Andrews but this time she went all the way to the fourth extra hole before eventually losing out to Canada’s Brittany Marchand.

She will be the first Alternate for this year’s Championship.

Thailand’s Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras was the first player to qualify with a birdie on the first extra hole and she was joined in this week’s field by English amateur Holly Muse, Wales’ Lydia Hall, Sideri Vanova from the Czech Republic, Italian amateur Ludovica Farini and America’s Tiffany Joh.

Scotland’s Michele Thomson will be the second Alternate for this year’s Championship after battling all the way to the third extra hole where she lost out to birdies from Marchand and Creamer.

The tournament will be held at Royal Lytham St Annes, starting tomorrow and running until Sunday.