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28th October 2015 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Pace at peace in China

Lee-AnnePace_BlueBayLPGA_SLTSouth Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace is taking a holiday approach to her title defence in the Blue Bay LPGA at the Greentown Blue Bay Resort on Hainan Island in China this week.

“I’ve got given a suite this week as the defending champion, which is just amazing,” said Pace at her pre-tournament conference.

“I woke up with a smile, had coffee in bed and laughed, and it was just so relaxing. I really honestly feel like I’m on holiday, which is cool, when you’re playing golf.”

Pace captured the South African Women’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.

“I’m just really pleased to be back,” said the 34-year-old, who also collected one of her nine Ladies European Tour titles on Hainan Island.

“My best memory from last year’s tournament was holding the trophy and that’s why I am totally chilled ahead of this year’s event. There is something special about this island for me and I always enjoy it here. I think it’s in my heart. I feel very comfortable here.

“I’ve brought my sister along for support this week and it’s really great to have family here.”

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 Thursday’s first round.

“I’m playing well at the moment and striking the ball great,” the double Invested Cup for Ladies champion said.

“If it’s not raining, the course will play a little bit shorter, but I’m not adjusting. I’m going to go at the golf course the same way that I did last year and I’ll stick to the same game plan.

“It’s a nice golf course where you have to attack the small parts of the green, so if you are accurate with your irons, you’re going to score well this week.”

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 – Lee-Anne Pace; credit Kevin Lee / Getty Images.