18th October 2014 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Pace set for SA Womenâ€™s Open finale
The former Ladies European Tour number one is the lone South African in the top 10 at San Lameer Country Club, having followed an opening 71 in the rain-hit championship with a 73 in the delayed second round on Saturday to finish at even-par 144.
Pace lags four behind afternoon starter Leigh Whittaker from Germany, who fired a career-best five-under-par 67 to take pole position.
“Everyone who knows me knows I love a good final round chase,” Pace said. “I’m just a few shots behind, so I am in the perfect position for Sunday.
“I figured someone would make a move if the wind died down, but the leaderboard is still very tight. There is not much in it. If the weather holds, we will give the die-hard fans an exciting final round showdown.”
Pace got off to a birdie-bogey start and reeled in five pars before a bogey at the par-five eighth. The reigning Investec Cup for Ladies champion turned in one over and racked up six straight pars on the back nine before another bogey-birdie combo at the seventh and eighth holes.
“I was a little miffed when I missed a birdie chance at the 18th,” Pace said.
“I hit a perfect tee shot in and had about eight feet to the pin. It was a straightforward putt, nothing funny about it. I struck it well, but the ball hit a rough patch and ball skidded left.”
The Pearl Valley golfer is striking the ball really well and the putter is behaving nicely.
“The wind wasn’t really an issue,” Pace said. “It was at most it was a one-club wind for me and I am shaping the ball well. But it would be nice to play in some sunny weather on Sunday.”
Sunshine Ladies Tour regular Holly Clyburn from England carded a 70 and joined Germany’s Ann-Kathrin Lindner (71) at three under.
Overnight leader Charley Hull incurred a two shot penalty and signed for a 74. The Englishwomen tied for fourth on two under with Switzerland’s Fabienne In-Albon, who carded a 72.
Meanwhile rounds of 73 and 75 left Connie Chen highly frustrated.
“My coach and I are working on some big changes to shorten my swing to get it more compact,” said the recent Tenerife Open de España winner.
“We started after Spain and right now, I’m sort of between the old and the new swing. It’s a catch 22. I don’t trust the new swing yet, but I can’t find the old one, either.
“It was just pretty frustrating out there, because the putter went cold, too. I had 28 putts in the first round and 33 in the second; that’s five shots right there.”
Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies winner Kim Williams, reigning Zambia Ladies Open Stacy Bregman and Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini tied for 32nd on five over 149.
Williams matched Bregman’s rounds of 75 and 74, while Dlamini carded rounds of 73 and 76.
Ashleigh Simon and Melissa Eaton are a further shot back. Two-time champion Simon followed a 79 with a 71, while Eaton went the other way with rounds of 70 and 80.
LPGA Tour rookie Paula Reto was thrilled to get her South African debut back on track with a two-udner-par 70 after a disappointing 81 in the first round.
The French amateur carded rounds of 75 and 73 to tie for 24th on four over, while 16-year-old De Lange registered rounds of 76 and 77 to make the cut, set at nine-over-par 153, on the number.
PHOTO – Lee-Anne Pace and Shawnelle de Lange; credit Justin Klusener.
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the WPGA and Sunshine Ladies Tour.