|Lee-Anne Pace, the LET's Money List winner in 2010
Lee-Anne Pace tied for second when the South African Women’s Open returned to the LET schedule last year and the former European Money List winner is hoping to go one better as she tees up in this week’s event, beginning Friday at Southbroom Golf Club in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
The 32-year-old from Paarl is feeling confident after a solid start to the 2013 season, which included a tie for eighth in her last start in Morocco.
“I’m looking for a special week. I’ve been training hard to make it a special week. But just to be in South Africa and play in front of your home crowd is very special, so I’m excited,” she said.
“It feels really good. I got a bit unlucky in Morocco with a few bad bounces here and there. But overall I’m feeling good.”
Making the event even more exceptional is the fact that her long-time coach, Val Holland, will be caddying for the tournament and she added: “It’s going to be great. You don’t often get to do that, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Pace also knows the Southbroom Golf Course fairly well, having resided in the area. “I lived in Durban for about two years when I was 19, 20, 21, just before I went over to America. So I’ve played it quite a bit and I love it,” she said.
This year, the tournament has attracted an impressive line-up of competitors including Becky Brewerton, Gwladys Nocera and Carly Booth, as well as rookies Charley Hull, Cheyenne Woods and Maha Haddioui.
Adding to local interest will be amateur Nobuhle Dlamini from Swaziland, who successfully defended her Sanlam South African Women’s Amateur Stroke Play title with a crushing 12-stroke victory at Pretoria Country Club on Tuesday and is now ranked third on the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Pace, who will be targeting her sixth Ladies European Tour title after winning five times in 2010, said: “I think they’ve done a fantastic job. We’ve got some bigger names here this year, and generally the field is stronger than last year. So I think it’s a really positive step in the right direction.”