Golf

Nordic sweep in Orange Bowl Doral-Publix Junior Classic top age group

Linn Grant of Sweden smacks an iron approach shot on No. 18.
Linn Grant of Sweden smacks an iron approach shot on No. 18. Special to the Miami Herald

The final round of the Orange Bowl’s Doral-Publix Junior Classic included a Nordic chill.

The two winners in the showcase division of the tournament, the 16- to 18-year-olds, were Linn Grant of Sweden winning the girls’ title and Santeri Lehesmaa of Finland taking the boys’ championship on Friday at Trump National Doral.

Grant, 17, shot 70-74-72 — 216 to beat Martha Lewis of England, who had a 68-75-76 — 219, by three strokes.

Lehesmaa shot 72-71-74 — 217 to win by two shots over Amadeo Figus of Italy.

For Grant, the triumph wasn’t one filled with confidence.

“When I came here, I had no thoughts of winning,” she said. “My ball-striking wasn’t good. I was scrambling.”

Off the tee during the tournament, she said, “I was afraid of every drive.” And she proved that on No. 18 when she was protecting a two-stroke lead and then pulled her drive to the left, leaving it just a few yards from going into adjacent water.

Grant has taken a simple approach to golf. When she was 9, she received her first handicap — it was 36.

“Ever since then, my goal has been to keep reducing the handicap, getting it lower and lower,” she said. At this point, she carries a 3 handicap.

In the boys’ competition, Lehesmaa started playing golf at age 3 as a left-hander. Then “at age 5” he changed to playing right-handed. Success has followed since with Lehesmaa, now a member of the Finnish national amateur team.

Golf is both a puzzle and obsession for Lehesmaa.

“You can never be as good as you want,” he said, “but you can always keep improving. I like that golf is a singular game and it challenges you both mentally and physically.”

Grant and Lehesmaa met for the first time Friday at the awards ceremonies and they quickly agreed on two things.

Both really enjoyed the trophy they received. Beyond that, they both said their Doral-Publix victory was a landmark.

RESULTS

Girls’ 16-18: 1. Linn Grant, Sweden, 70-74-72 – 216; 2. Martha Lewis, England, 68-75—76 –219; 3. Charlotte Liautier, France, 78-72-71 – 221. Girls’ 14-15: 1. Maisie Filler, U.S., 67-71-74 – 212; 2. A. Gomez Cisterna, Argentina, 69-72-72 – 213; 3. Victoria Monod, Switzerland, 72-74-72 – 218. Boys’ 16-18: 1. Santeri Lehesmaa, Finland, 72-71-74 – 217; 2. Amadeo Figus, Italy, 74-73-72 – 219; 3. (tie) Alejandro Aguilera, Spain, 71-76-77 – 224; Fred Biondi, Brazil, 77-79-68 – 224; Boys’ 14-15: 1. Michael Thorbjornsen, 71-71-72 – 214; 2. (tie) Quentin Devove, France, 68-77-75 – 220; Hannes Hilburger, Germany, 76-71-73 – 220.

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