16th May 2014 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Good start for Pace in Virginia
South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace got off to a solid start at the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia to finish five shots behind first round pacesetters, Azahara Munoz from Spain and American Austin Ernst.
The eight-time LET champion dipped to one under with a lone birdie at the par-five 15th as she navigated the back nine of the River Course at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg. She traded a pair of bogeys for brace of birdies to come home in 70 strokes on Thursday.
Munoz and Ernst set the target at six-under-par 65 to finish one stroke ahead of Korea’s Hee Young Park.
Three-time champion Christie Kerr lurks in the bus of seven players at four under, including fellow Americans Danielle Kang, Lizette Salas, Lexi Thompson, Brittany Lang, Kathleen Ekey and Thailand’s Thidapa Suwannapura.
Unlike Pace, Paula Reto had a less productive start.
The South African dropped three shots against a birdie at the par-three 13th on her outward nine and finished with a bogey at the par-four ninth to tie for 95th with a three over 74.
Reto claimed one of the 20 cards on offer at the LPGA Tour Qualifying School in December, but Pace narrowly missed securing a full card for the 2014 season at the final stage. The re-rank has given the former Ladies European Tour number one more starts and the chance to secure a card for next year.
The opportunity to line up in the $1.3-million tournament in Williamsburg came with a price, though.
Pace was due to host the inaugural First-Pace Golf Day for Girls at the award-winning Pearl Valley Golf & Country Estate on 14 May.
“It was a disappointment for myself and my sponsor, First Car, but everyone understands that I have to grab this opportunity to strengthen my chances of securing a card for next season,” Pace said. “We have had to postpone the golf day, but we hope to schedule it in August.”
Meanwhile reigning Zambia Ladies Open champion Stacy Bregman is taking a well-deserved break after another top 20 finish at the sixth edition of the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open in Turkey.
Bregman, who ranks ninth on the Ladies European Tour, will lead the South African challenge at the Deloitte Ladies Open in the Netherland’s from 23-25 May.
LET rookie Nicole Garcia, Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies Houghton winner Kim Williams, as well as Sunshine Ladies Tour regulars Nobuhle Dlamini from Swaziland and Namibia’s Bonita Bredenhann will also line up in the €250,000 event at The International in Amsterdam.
Williams tied for 55th in her second LET start, while Garcia, Dlamini and Bredenhann missed the cut at the National Golf Club in Belek.
Photo credit – Dale Boyce.
Written and released on behalf of the WPGA and Sunshine Ladies Tour by Lali Stander.