Top South African export Lee-Anne Pace is eager to turn a string of fine performances over the past month into a maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour victory at the inaugural R300,000 Investec Cup for Ladies this weekend.
The eight-time Ladies European Tour winner ranks eighth on the Sunshine Ladies Tour Order of Merit, courtesy of top-five results in three starts, but is still without a victory in 2014.
Pace hopes turn her fortunes around at the season-finale at Millvale Private Retreat and the Lost City Golf Course at Sun City from 21-23 March.
The former European number one will join an elite cast vying for the winner’s cheque worth R100,000, led by Sunshine Ladies Tour champions Monique Smit, Tandi von Ruben and rookie Kim Williams, ranked second, third and fourth respectively.
Smit won the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am and the SuperSport Challenge, Von Ruben captured the Sun International Challenge in a play-off, while Williams won the season-opening Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies at Houghton.
The rest of the cast includes South Africans Nicole Garcia, Francesca Cuturi and Morgana Robbertze, as well as Cecilie Lundgreen from Norway, Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini and Lauren Blease from England.
The highly-rated Pace added three LET victories to her growing international tally last year, and finished the season ranked second.
She tied for fourth in George, finished third in the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies at Glendower, took sole second at the SuperSport Challenge and comes into the season-finale on the back of a joint fourth finish at the Ladies European Tour’s Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco.
Pace is looking forward to follow Order of Merit leader Ashleigh Simon, who had not won on home soil until claiming three titles on the new Sunshine Ladies Tour this season.
“When we still had a strong Tour in South Africa, I was on a golf scholarship in the United States and didn’t return home too often,” Pace explained.
“I played in a few events but I’ve never lifted a trophy at home, and it’s certainly a goal of mine – and one I can hopefully I can realise this weekend! It would be nice to complete the run, you know, four-three-two-one.
“My game is definitely in good shape, especially after four competitive rounds in Morocco, but nothing is a golf is a given. We are playing two tough courses, and the rest of the girls will be equally eager to win. I think we will see spectacular golf from the ladies, and it should be a tight battle to the finish.
“On a personal note, Investec has been fantastic in their support of women’s golf and as my sponsor, and I would love to win this for Investec.”
The first round of the 54-hole event will be played at Millvale Private Retreat, while the second and final rounds will be contested at the Lost City Golf Course at Sun City.
Photo caption: Eight-time Ladies European Tour champion Lee-Anne Pace is determined to secure a first win in South Africa, and hopes to build on good momentum to make the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s inaugural Investec Cup for Ladies hers this weekend. Photo: Catherine Kotze / SASPA
(With editing by gsport)