South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace will launch her title defence in the Tenerife Open de España Femenino on Tenerife Island on Thursday. The reigning Investec Cup for Ladies champion is among 11 of the top 20 ranked players on the Ladies European Tour that will challenge for glory at the Golf Costa Adeje. Compatriots Stacy Bregman, Connie Chen, Kim Williams and Nicole Garcia will also line up in the 126-strong field that is further strengthened by five LET winners this season and some familiar faces from the Sunshine Ladies Tour, including Holly Aitchison from England, Italy’s Sophie Sandolo, Anne-Lise Caudal from France, Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini, Bonita Bredenhann from Namibia.
Twelve months ago, Pace defeated Sweden’s Mikaela Parmlid by one shot to claim her seventh LET title, and second of the season, at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid. The Spanish success sparked a superb run that ended with a clutch of rewards for Pace. She reeled in her eight LET title at Sanya Ladies Open in October, finished second in the final standings on the LET and secured her card for the 2014 LPGA Tour season.
She also earned a South African Sportswoman of the Year nomination and was named the LET’s Player’s Player of the Year and Compleat Golfer’s Player of the Year for 2013. Pace has predominantly campaigned in the United States this year and is happy to back in Europe. “I always look forward to Tenerife. The people of really nice and the climate is fantastic. I love the ocean, and it always feels like I am on holiday when I come out here. It’s a very relaxing week, and I’m looking forward to getting my title defence underway,” said Pace.
The Pearl Valley golfer will have Italian Open winner, Florentyna Park from England and Scottish rookie Amy Boulden for company in the first two rounds. In a career-best season, Bregman has stayed in the top 20 with four top 10 finishes in Europe, including a tie for third at the Volvik RACV Ladies Open and joint fifth the Italian Ladies Open. The reigning Zambia Ladies Open champion hopes the Spanish magic rubs off on her, too.
“I still haven’t won in Europe, but that is no longer a priority for me. The win will come when it comes, but gaining consistent top 10 finishes is a greater priority. Hopefully I can pull off two solid weeks in Tenerife and France to boost my ranking before we head home for the Cell C SA Women’s Open next month,” Bregman said.
Photo: Investec Cup for Ladies champion Lee-Anne Pace.
Photo credit: Dale Boyce.