28th October 2015 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Pace at peace in China
â€œIâ€™ve got given a suite this week as the defending champion, which is just amazing,â€ said Pace at her pre-tournament conference.
â€œI woke up with a smile, had coffee in bed and laughed, and it was just so relaxing. I really honestly feel like Iâ€™m on holiday, which is cool, when youâ€™re playing golf.â€
Pace captured the South African Womenâ€™s Open in October last year, flew straight to China and staved off final round challenges from Inbee Park, Lydia Ko, Sashan Feng and Michelle Wie to claim a maiden breakthrough on the LPGA Tour eight days later.
The Pearl Valley golfer said she is not feeling any pressure to defend her title.
â€œIâ€™m just really pleased to be back,â€ said the 34-year-old, who also collected one of her nine Ladies European Tour titles on Hainan Island.
â€œMy best memory from last yearâ€™s tournament was holding the trophy and thatâ€™s why I am totally chilled ahead of this yearâ€™s event. There is something special about this island for me and I always enjoy it here. I think itâ€™s in my heart. I feel very comfortable here.
â€œIâ€™ve brought my sister along for support this week and itâ€™s really great to have family here.â€
Pace followed a tie for sixth in the Evian Championship in September with two top 25 finishes in Asia and said her game in great form ahead of Thursdayâ€™s first round.
â€œIâ€™m playing well at the moment and striking the ball great,â€ the double Invested Cup for Ladies champion said.
â€œIf itâ€™s not raining, the course will play a little bit shorter, but Iâ€™m not adjusting. Iâ€™m going to go at the golf course the same way that I did last year and Iâ€™ll stick to the same game plan.
â€œItâ€™s a nice golf course where you have to attack the small parts of the green, so if you are accurate with your irons, youâ€™re going to score well this week.â€
World number one Ko and two Park, Wie and Feng are also back and bidding for success at the Jian Lake Blue Bay course.
Ko is carrying some hot form after grabbing her 10th LPGA Tour win at the Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship last week, while Feng will be hoping to delight the home crowds with a fifth LPGA victory on Sunday.
PHOTO â€“ Lee-Anne Pace; credit Kevin Lee / Getty Images.