SA Open champion uses to focus on swing, short game
South Africa’s top female golf export, Lee-Anne Pace, is looking forward to winning the US Women’s Open and securing her first major in the US Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour. The tournament tees off at the Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania from July 9-12. It is the third oldest of the five current majors on the LPGA calendar. It carries the largest purse in women’s golf, at $4 million (R48.8 million) this year.
Pace won three tournaments back to back on the Sunshine Ladies Tour in March. They are the SuperSport Ladies Challenge at Zwartkop Country Club (Centurion), the Ladies Tshwane Open (Pretoria Country Club) and the Investec Cup for Ladies (Sun City). Speaking from Tulsa in Oklahoma, where she is currently based and preparing for her competition on this demanding tour, Pace said she was ready to sweep the Open.
Her last victory on this stage was the rain-shortened Blue Bay LPGA tournament on Hainan Island, China, in October.
With four strokes ahead and five holes to go when play was suspended in the final round because of darkness, Pace finished off a five-under 67 for a three-stroke victory over Germany’s Caroline Masson.
“I have been working hard on my swing and things are looking great for my golf here in the US. I’m in good shape and very determined on the course. Winning my first major on a big stage such as the LPGA Tour will be great,” said Pace.
The 34-year-old from Paarl, Western Cape, who has won nine events on the Ladies European Tour, says she does not entertain any hope of playing in Europe this year.
“I don’t think I will ever compete in Europe again, because my focus this year is on the US, where I would like to win. Winning the Open will greatly enhance my career,” she said.
Pace said she had been working extensively on her short game, as that would be key for her during the Open.
She said campaigning in the US offered a huge challenge, as she was able to compete alongside some of the best golfers in the world.
Pace said US courses were challenging as they were longer and had a higher difficulty level compared with the ones on the Ladies European Tour.
“It’s refreshing to compete on the US LPGA Tour against the likes of Lydia Ko of New Zealand, who at the age of 17 is the youngest world number one player,” said Pace, who is the defending SA Women’s Open titleholder.
AMBITIOUS Lee-Anne Pace (34) is determined to win the US Women’s Open