The 2022 LPGA Tour rookie Linn Grant is not only making her debut at the TOTO Japan Classic, but in the country itself. After arriving later than most due to travel delays and securing her visa, Grant wasn’t able to fit in a full 18 holes during her only practice day. She played the front nine and only walked the back nine at Seta Golf Course on Wednesday, prioritizing rest after traveling, and trust in her game. It helped in her solid start – a 3-under 69 – to only put her four shots back of the lead in a tie for 10th heading into Friday.
“Thank Gof we started on No. 1 so we got into it a bit. I’m not – I don’t feel too uncomfortable doing that, I feel like I got a good view of the back nine from just walking but it is a bit terrifying,” said Grant. “Having the crowds here is nice, and I think my focus just turns on a bit more. I think today was a bonus for not playing which was nice.”
Grant is certainly feeling some sort of familiarity while in a country she’s never visited before. Koichiro Ishika, a past Arizona State Sun Devil like Grant, is Japanese and lives an hour away from where Grant is staying this week. The two were able to meet up for dinner, where Grant said she got her first taste of “Japanese BBQ,” a nice surprise for the Swedish superstar.
“He just texted me and said ‘I live like an hour away if you want to meet up and have dinner,” said Grant, who said Ko – his nickname – would be attempting Stage Two of the Japan Golf Tour soon. “I haven’t seen him in three years, so that was really nice.”
Heading into the second round, the recently named LET Rookie of the Year is hoping build upon a consistent day and put herself up in contention among packed leaderboard. “I think my game feels alright. I’m hitting the ball quite well,” said Grant. “This course demands some strategy out there, but I think we did a good job with that. Was hoping for a few more putts to go in but that’s the game.”