4th April 2014 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Pace in trouble in California
Lee-Anne Pace will have a fight on her hands to survive the cut at the 31st annual Kraft Nabisco Championship on Friday, after the South African finished 13 shots behind pacesetter Shanshan Feng at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.
The South African carded an opening seven-over-par 79 to finish in a tie for 102nd.
She began well enough on the back nine of the Dinah Shore Tournament Course, but an avalanche of bogeys on the homestretch left Pace hugging the lower echelons of the first round leaderboard.
Pace cancelled an opening bogey at the 10th with birdie at the next hole, but dropped another shot at the par-four 15th to turn in one over 37. A bogey at the first was followed a triple bogey at the par-four third, and more dropped shots at the fourth, fifth and seventh. She rallied with a birdie at the par-five ninth to finish the loop in 42.
Pace was not alone in her struggles, though, as defending champion Inbee Park also battled to a 74.
The world number one said the pins and a cold putter was her undoing.
“The pin positions were very tough,” she said. “Half of the pins, at least, we couldn’t go for.”
Park’s only birdie putt dropped at the ninth, her closing hole.
“I didn’t give myself enough opportunities and obviously, the opportunities I had, I didn’t make the putts. It took me a while to make a birdie, so just hopefully a better day tomorrow.”
Meanwhile Feng from China took route 66 to hit the front and reeled in seven birdies, offset by a lone bogey.
Fend leads by one from Korea’s Se Ri Pak and Michelle Wie from the United States and is two shots ahead of compatriot Amy Yang and her 15-year-old American amateur, Angel Yin.
She said she learned a lot from playing with three-time Kraft Nabisco champion and LPGA Hall of Famer, Amy Alcott.
“I asked her to tell me the secrets of winning at Mission Hills, because before this year, I’ve never done well at this course,” said Feng. “But don’t ask me what the secrets are, because that’s a secret. I’ll tell you maybe after we finish on Sunday. But I did learn a lot of from her. I had a great time playing with Amy and I just hope I can have three more good days.”
PHOTO – Lee-Anne Pace; credit Luke Walker.