Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Disruptors Innovators & Risk-Takers -

After a hat-trick of ma­jor suc­cesses from young guns Trevor Im­mel­man, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel be­tween 2008 and 2011, South Africans were an­tic­i­pat­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of male “su­per­stars” to re­place Ernie Els and Retief Goosen.

How­ever, our promis­ing trio has dis­ap­point­ingly taken back­ward steps in re­cent years, and in­stead it has been a 33-year-old fe­male golfer, Lee-Anne Pace ( above), who has seized the ba­ton and be­come a per­sua­sive role model for many young girls who might be de­bat­ing whether to try golf.

Pace’s sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ment was to be­come the first South African to win on the LPGA Tour since Sally Lit­tle in 1988. The LPGA Tour is dom­i­nated by Kore­ans, Americans and Scan­dana­vians, so for Pace to break through in that com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment from a tiny golf­ing na­tion is re­mark­able. Her de­vel­op­ment as a player has been slow but steady, and Pace has shown a fire inside her that bodes well for her fu­ture ca­reer.

Women’s golf has for a long time needed some­one like Pace to come along and ac­cel­er­ate the growth of the lo­cal women’s game. She’s al­ready had the first Pace golf day for girls at Pearl Val­ley to try and spot young tal­ent. More im­por­tantly, though, her pres­ence will en­cour­age more girls to give golf a try.

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