South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace finished just one stroke off the pace in the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters on Wednesday. The reigning Investec for Ladies champion carded an opening five-under-par 67 to finish within striking distance of world number five Shanshan Feng of China and Carin Koch from Sweden, who set the first round target at the Majlis course of Emirates Golf Club. Pace shares second with England’s Charley Hull, Becky Brewerton from Wales and Korean amateur Lee Soyoung.
The recent Cell C SA Women’s Open champion bogeyed the first, but rebounded with birdies at the second, fourth, sixth and ninth to complete the outward loop in 32 strokes. On the back nine, she birdied the 14th and 16th to get within a shot of the co-leaders. The Sunshine Ladies Tour’s 2015 Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies leader said she enjoyed the pace of the greens.
“I hit 16 greens in regulation and putted really well. I didn’t miss many shots and it was a solid round. I think the greens are fantastic. They are in really good condition and running fast and true. I love this course. I finished second here last time, so I have really good memories about it,” the Pearl Valley golfer said. Countryman Ashleigh Simon carded an opening 70 to finish four off the pace, while Stacy Lee Bregman registered a 72 for a share of 44th. Recent Tenerife Open de Espana champion Connie Chen signed for a frustrating 74 that included two birdies, two bogeys and a double at the par-four sixth to tie for 69th.
Ladies European Tour rookie Kim Williams is in trouble, though. The Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies Houghton champion needed a solid performance this week to ensure she finishes in the top 80 to hold on to her card for next season. Williams began well with three straight pars and reversed a bogey at the fifth with birdie at the sixth, however, five straight bogeys around the turn virtually derailed her round.
She stemmed the bleeding with a birdie at the 13th and finished with five straight pars, but an opening 76 left her hovering around the lower echelons of the leaderboard in a tie for 91st.
Photo: Current 2015 Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies leader, Lee-Anne Pace
Photo credit: Justin Klusener.