Durban - German Caroline Masson held off a strong challenge from home-favourite Lee-Anne Pace to card a final round one-under-par 71 and clinch victory at the South African Women’s Open in Pennington, KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday.
The world No 74, the highest ranked player in the field, ended with an overall score of 215 over the three rounds, with Pace recording a final total of 216, level par for the championship.
Pace enjoyed the joint second-lowest score of the final day with a 70 in blustery conditions, which had delayed the start by an hour, although it was not enough to catch the eventual winner.
She shared second place with Briton Danielle Montgomery, who finished strongly with two successive birdies for a round three score of level-par 72.
Pace’s finishing 70 was matched by defending champion Tandi Cuningham, but that effort was only good enough for a one-over 217.
The event was co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour (LET) and SA Women’s Professional Golf Association for the first time.
Frenchwoman Joanna Klatten also ended on that score, while the other big local hope in the field, two-time former winner Ashleigh Simon, ended in joint-sixth place after a two-over 74 on the closing day.
It was a disappointing end for the 2004 and 2007 winner after she started the day in a share of the lead.
Another French player Julie Greciet (73) and Australian Lindsey Wright (71) ended alongside her with 218 totals.
The best scores on day three were rounds of four-under 68s from South African Melissa Eaton-Jackson and Titiya Plucksataporn of Thailand, although they ended tied-ninth and tied-25th respectively.