2nd April 2014 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Pace lifts bar for women’s golf
Investec Cup for Ladies champion Lee-Anne Pace was named the 2013 Golfer of the Year at the prestigious annual , held at the Country Club Johannesburg on Monday.
In 2010, Pace shared the esteemed award with Open champion Louis Oosthuizen after a watershed season that saw her finish the year ranked as the number one golfer on the Ladies European Tour.
This year marked the first time that a female golfer was named the outright Golfer of the Year.
Pace enjoyed another stellar season in 2013 that culminated in a second place ranking on the Ladies European Tour’s ISPS HANDA Order of Merit.
She raised her winning tally in Europe to eight with victories at the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open in May, the Open de Espana in July and the Sanya Ladies Open in China in October. In addition to a runner-up finish at the Allianz Ladies Slovak Open, South Africa’s top export also reeled in an additional five top 10 finishes that helped her season’s earnings to €250,927.
Pace was named the LET Player’s Player of 2013 by her peers, a distinction she also earned in 2010, and nominated as Sports Woman of the Year at the South African Sports Awards.
The 33-year-old recorded a video before she left for the United States for in the season’s first Major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship in California, and expressed her delight at receiving the award.
“I suppose I should first thanked the boys for not winning a Major last year,” Pace chuckled. “I am incredibly honoured to have been named Golfer of the Year. To be the first female to receive this award is a privilege and honour.
“I would like to thank my sponsors Investec, Cobra-Puma, Oakley and First Car Rental for their unbelievable support in 2013 and who allowed me to compete in a stress-free environment and should all share in this honour.
“My appreciation also goes to my two coaches, Val Holland and James Petts, without whom this incredible season would not have been possible.
“Finally, I would like to thank the Compleat Golfer for hosting these awards each year. You have been fantastic in your support of all the South African golfers and we appreciate everything you do to promote the game, especially for female players. I hope this achievement will inspire other players and help to grow the Sunshine Ladies Tour.”
The Pearl Valley Golf Estate player, who also received the WPGA Golfer of the Year for a fourth year running, enjoyed a superb start to her season on the inaugural Sunshine Ladies Tour.
In three starts, finished fourth at the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am, third in the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies at Glendower and second at the SuperSport Challenge. She qualified for the season-ending finale, which was limited to the top 10 available pros on the Order of Merit, and romped to a six stroke victory in the Investec Cup for Ladies at Sun City.
“It was incredible to finally have a Tour at home again, and for the international players,” Pace said after she won the R300,000 season finale.
“The Sunshine Ladies Tour allowed us to keep competitive for the Ladies European Tour, to compete on home soil in front of friends and family and to inspire the next generation. We are incredibly excited to have a Tour at home again and to come home and support the WPGA.”
Recent Chase to Investec Cup for Ladies winner, Kim Williams, was also honoured by the WGSA as their Amateur Golfer of the Year for her outstanding performance in 2013.
Award winners at the 2014 Compleat Golfer Annual Awards Dinner
Compleat Golfer Golfer of the Year: Lee-Anne Pace
Compleat Golfer Contribution to Golf: Simon Hobday
Compleat Golfer Superintendent of the Year: Frikkie Potgieter (Woodhill CC)
Compleat Golfer Newsmaker of the Year: Gary Player
Compleat Golfer Contribution to the Golf Industry: Grant Leversha
WGSA Lady Amateur Golfer of the Year: Kim Williams
WPGA Player of the Year: Lee-Anne Pace
SAGA Junior Golfer of the Year: Kyle McClatchie
SAGA Men’s Amateur Golfer of the Year: Christiaan Bezuidenhout
SADGA Golfer of the Year: Daniel Slabbert
Telkom Business Golf Journalist of the Year: Lali Stander
The Rand Water Most Water-wise Course: Zebula Golf Estate &Spa
Volvo Mover of the Year: Dawie van der Walt
PGA of SA National Champion 2013: Kevin Stone
PGA of SA Apprentice of the Year: Steven Venter
PGA of SA Teaching Pro of the Year: Derek James
PGA of SA Order of Merit winner: Michael du Toit
PGA Professional of the Year: Derek James
PHOTO – Lee-Anne Pace; credit Luke Walker.