Johanneburg – South Africa's top golfer, Lee-Anne Pace, pulled off a commanding victory at the Investec Cup for Ladies played at the Lost City on Sunday.
“Four, three, two, one. Mission accomplished,” was how an elated Pace described her campaign after lifting the title of the R300,000 Sunshine Ladies Tour finale.
“I came here to win after finishing fourth, third and second in my other three starts on the new Sunshine Ladies Tour and I am so pleased with this result,” she said.
Pace hit the front with a flawless 70 in the second round and overcame a shaky start to reel in back-to-back birdies at the 17th and 18th for a one-under-par 71 and a six-stroke victory on even-par 216.
Two-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Monique Smit also picked up two birdies on the back nine to steal into second with a 74, while Tandi von Ruben took third on eight-over with a 76.
Pace also bagged the winner's cheque worth R100,000 and vaulted to the top of the Order of Merit.
“I am so pleased that I could finish the mission I started at Millvale Private Retreat on Friday.
“I could only compete in three events on the new Sunshine Ladies Tour, due to scheduling conflicts with the Ladies European Tour and the move to Pearl Valley.
“I finished fourth at the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am, came third at the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies at Glendower and second at the SuperSport Challenge.
“I jokingly said that the next one better be first, and then I really started wanting it. I wanted to win at least one event on the Sunshine Ladies Tour.”
Pace did not get off to an ideal start and dropped shots at the first, third and sixth.
“I turned it around with a birdie at the sixth and I made another birdie at the 11th, but then the run ran dry.
“I really struggled with the pace of the greens, because they were much slower than what I'm used to. I missed quite a few down the back nine, where I had the right lines, but left the putts short.
“I really, really wanted to finish in red numbers, but I guess par was good enough.”
With the first Major of the season just two weeks away, Pace said she loved the fact that she could stay competitive at home.
“It is absolutely fantastic that we have a Tour again and we can compete here in front of our friends, fans and family.
“I need to do some work with the putter, but otherwise I feel absolutely ready for the Kraft Nabisco Championship in two weeks.
“It's been fantastic to compete with my peers, as well, but I was most impressed by the amateurs we saw in action over the last few weeks. We have some incredible talent coming through the ranks, and I predict we are going to see a lot of South Africans on the Ladies European Tour in the near future.”
While Pace will take a little time off to celebrate her triumph, Smit and Von Ruben and the other Sunshine Ladies Tour regulars travel to Zambia for the inaugural Zambia Ladies Open Championship this week. – Sapa