30th July 2015 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Pace ready to roll in Scotland
As soon as she banked a tie for 22nd in the Meijer LPGA Classic in Michigan on Sunday, South Africaâ€™s top export Lee-Anne Pace took the first flight to Scotland to join compatriots Nicole Garcia, Ashleigh Simon and Paula Reto in this weekâ€™s Ricoh British Womenâ€™s Open at the Trump Turnberry Resort.
â€œThe Ricoh Womens British Open is one of my favourite tournaments of the season and Iâ€™m stoked to get started,â€ the Pearl Valley golfer said. â€œI’ve been looking forward to this week all year.â€
Pace was able to fit in two practice rounds at the Ailsa Course and declared herself ready to challenge in the seasonâ€™s fourth Major.
â€œMy preparation has been very good,â€ the double Investec Cup for Ladies champion said.
â€œIâ€™ve had a couple of solid weeks and I’m happy with where my game is at. The Open is always fun because you are able to play a wide variety of shots and you get to use your imagination.
â€œThe only variable you canâ€™t control is the weather and itâ€™s usually a factor. You just have to make the most with what you get when itâ€™s your time on the first tee.â€
Reto will lead the South African posse into action in Thursdayâ€™s first round.
The second-season LPGA Tour campaigner, Ladies European Tour winner Felicity Johnson from England and Denmarkâ€™s Nanna Koertz Madsen are off at 10h59.
Pace gets started at 13h43 and will play the first two rounds with Lucie Andre from France and Chinese Taipeiâ€™s Candie Kung.
Nicole Garcia will have Xiyu Lin from China and Dutch player Dewi Claire Schreefel for company at 14h16, while fellow Wanna Be A Champion Academy member Ashleigh Simon completes the local line-up and will start alongside Scotlandâ€™s Kylie Walker and Chiara Merterns from Germany at 15h55.
Meanwhile all eyes will be on world number one Inbee Park.
The six-time Major champion will launch her bid for her first Open title alongside Spainâ€™s Azahara Munoz, a four-time LET and LPGA Tour winner, and fellow Major winner Stacy Lewis from the United States.
â€œIâ€™ve never put my name on the British Open trophy and that is really my main goal,â€ said the 27-year-old South Korean.
â€œMy first couple of years at the British Open was a real shock, because Iâ€™d never played golf like that before. After my third or fourth year, I learned how to do it and I have had quite a few good finishes since then.â€
Parkâ€™s best finish in the Ricoh British Womenâ€™s Open was second in 2012, followed closely by her biggest disappointment.
She arrived at St Andrews in 2013 having won the Ana Inspiration, KPGM Womenâ€™s PGA and US Womenâ€™s Open, but her hopes of a fourth Major was blown away when she found herself at the wrong end of the draw, playing in the worst of the Scottish weather.
Park will start as the favourite, but there are a host of in-form players ready to derail her bid for a career Grand Slam.
Among others, Park will have the likes of world number two Lydia Ko from New Zealand and English phenomenon Charley Hull to contend with, as well as fellow Koreans Jiyai Shin and Jeong Jang and American Lexi Thompson, who lifted the Meijer LPGA Classic title on Sunday.
Follow the live coverage of the Ricoh British Womenâ€™s Open starts from 14h00 to 18h00 on SuperSport 1 and CSN.
PHOTO â€“ Lee-Anne Pace; credit Catherine Kotze / SASPA.