Cape Town - South
Africa's Lee-Anne Pace has duel objectives on the mind ahead of the South African Women's Open at Westlake Golf Club from March 8-10 in Cape Town.
year, the 12-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner completed a hat-trick of titles
with her third successive victory at San Lameer Country Club to join Mandy
Adamson as a three-time national Open winner.
the title four times is her first big aspiration.
this week is simple; I want to win," said Pace. "I'd really like to lift that
trophy. I will try to get good scores in the first two rounds to put myself in
contention. But we'll have to see what the weather does. Sometimes level par
can be a good score if the wind really blows."
The South African Women's Open is the marquee event on the Sunshine
year's edition is co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour for the first
time since 2014 and offers a purse of R2-million, with the winner getting the
lion share worth R317 000.
also has the season-long points list on her mind.
with 590 points, the Boschenmeer golfer is some way off top of the pile Stacy
Bregman on 1710 points but with 2400 points up for grabs for the winner, the
motivation is certainly there and Pace could make the jump to claim the points
list title and continue to dominate the money list title she claimed in the
2014, 2015 and 2016,
of permutations are possible with third place this week worth 1550 points which
interestingly is just 160 less than Bregman has earned from six events.
For Pace though, the task is simple - win the tournament and whip out the
love to win both and end the season on a high note," said Pace, who lost the
Chase to the Investec Cup title fight to Ashleigh Buhai last year.
field boasts 123 players with a total of 26 countries represented and the
37-year-old LPGA winner and nine-time Ladies European Tour champion knows it
will be a tough task to come out on top in a strong field.
"Carly (Booth) is good, but there are a lot of other quality players playing
this week," said Pace."Flory
Parker loves the wind, so I expect her to perform well this week. There are a
number of new players I have never compete against, so there is the unknown
factor. And our girls are coming off six weeks, so they are highly competitive.
fantastic to have such a strong field here in Cape Town, but it will be tough
to win. I'm just really happy we have a co-sanctioned event again and I'm
excited about where the Sunshine Ladies Tour is heading."
will be facing stiff competition from her peers, but she has dug out her old
Scotty Cameron putter and, having found some great pace with 'old faithful' in
the last couple of days, she is rearing to go.
played decently in Australia two weeks ago, but I didn't putt well at all," she
said. "So as soon as I got back, I went looking for my Scotty. I've just bought
a house at Boschenmeer and I am busy moving, so it was no easy task tracking
down my Scotty.
putted my whole career with the Scotty Cameron and then suddenly last year I
didn't feel comfortable. I think it got bent on the same flight my driver
broke, because it was around that time that I lost confidence with my putting.
of getting a new putter, I just went with something different. I tried the
mallet for half the season last year, but I just can't get comfortable with it.
So I just went back to what I know."
Pace took third in the season-opening Canon Ladies Tshwane Open, but was forced
to withdraw in the first round of the Joburg Ladies Open.
was a huge blow, I was playing really well at the time as well," Pace said. "I
just woke up that morning and had really bad stomach flu, I couldn't even lift
my arm. I tried to play, but I just couldn't swing the golf club - it was too
Bregman won at Pretoria Country Club and Buhai triumphed at Modderfontein Golf
Club, but Pace did not wallow in disappointment. In the third event, she
returned to the winner’s circle when she beat good friend Anne-Lise Caudal of
France in a playoff for the Cape Town Ladies Open title.
in Cape Town was really fun. I always enjoy playing in Cape Town because my
friends and family always come out and watch. I happened to also play against
my best friend in a playoff and won. It was a really good week, and that win there
will set me up well for Westlake.
"It was funny because we didn't even know there was going to be a playoff," she
said. "I asked Anne-Lise what score did you finish on, and she said eight-under
and I said I was the same. It was only then that we realised we were going to
be in a playoff. We just started laughing. At the end of the day it's
nothing personal and you just try and do your best."
Though Pace has not played Westlake Golf Club this millennium, she was still
confident she could compete for the title.
"I haven't played Westlake since I won a Western Province amateur event here;
it was probably 20 years ago," she said, laughing. "I like the course. It's a
tough layout, especially when the wind blows and according to the forecast, the
wind is going to blow. It will be interesting because it's a tight little golf
course with small greens, so you really have to control the ball flight in the
Pace is always a heavy favourite, as is Bregman and Buhai, but a number of
younger players coming through the ranks coming through the ranks could turn
this year's South African Women's Open into an intriguing battle.
Look out for second
ranked Nobuhle Dlamini, who picked up her maiden victory at the SuperSport
Ladies Challenge last week, second season professionals Ivanna Samu and Lora
Assad and a slew of Ladies European Tour rookies, including Marita Engzelius and Silvia Bañon, who tied for
second in the Women's New South Wales Open.