World number 29 Lee-Anne Pace will launch her 2015 Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies campaign by hunting a podium finish in the SuperSport Challenge, which tees off at Zwartkop Country Club on 10 March. ‘I hope to hit the ground running and make my mark quickly,’ said Pace from Australia, where she claimed a joint sixth place in the RACV Ladies Masters on the weekend. The Pearl Valley golfer won the inaugural Investec Cup for Ladies title in March last year and celebrated back-to-back victories with two international titles in the space of nine days in October.
Pace won the Cell C South African Women’s Open on home soil and held off the likes of Inbee Park, Lydia Ko, Jessica Korda, Shanshan Feng and Michelle Wie to capture her first LPGA title at the Blue Bay LPGA in China a week later. ‘It was a really good time for me. I interrupted my schedule in China to fly to South Africa and support our local Open. It was very important to me to compete, because winning the Cell C SA Women’s Open has always been a major priority for me. It was incredibly special for me to win, but I was quite drained when I arrived back in China. My expectations were low, but I was striking the ball very well. Once I found myself in contention, I drew on the victory in South Africa and the competitive juices just started to flow. Both titles meant the world to me and it was a fantastic way to end the season,’ said Pace. Pace began the 2014 season with a conditional card on the LPGA Tour and had to take numerous last-minutes flights across the Atlantic when she received a late call to start, but the nine-time Ladies European Tour champion took advantage of her limited opportunities.
Following the mid-season re-rank, Pace earned more starts and the South African posted solid results in the last six months of the year to finish the season ranked 38th on the LPGA Money List with earnings of $469,559. Pace took an extended break to relax and refresh after the season-finale in Dubai and feels ready to challenge again. ‘I needed to relax and to get my head straight again, but now I really feel hungry again,’ Pace said.
Pace will be gunning for a title in LPGA’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open at Royal Melbourne Golf Club this week. ‘I’ve been keeping my eye on the Sunshine Ladies Tour scoring and the girls have been busy. Stacy (Bregman), Nicole (Garcia) and Melissa Eaton have closed the gap on me in the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies and I will slip even further back after the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am and Cape Town Ladies Open. I definitely don’t expect to be leading, but I intend to hit the ground running. I had a solid start in Australia and I am keen to do well at Royal Melbourne this week. It’s important to carry some good form into the SuperSport Challenge to keep myself in the running for the Investec Cup for Ladies in March,’ she said.
Photo: Lee-Anne Pace
Photo credit: Catherine Kotze / SASPA