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8th March 2023 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Pace ready to take No 6 at Steenberg

7 March 2023 – When you’ve won the Investec South African Women’s Open more often than anyone else, then it’s not surprising if you’re a little confident and Lee-Anne Pace is very confident ahead of the first round of the 2021 edition of the tournament at Steenberg Golf Club on Wednesday.

A five-time champion, who won the past two titles, Pace heads up an exciting field for a tournament that climaxes the 10th year of the Sunshine Ladies Tour, and is co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour.

“I’m very excited and very confident,” said Pace, who also won her national open title in 2014, 2015 and 2017. “I have been playing really well in the last few weeks building up to this week.”

With four top-10s in the four tournaments she has played on home soil this year, with a best of third in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am in February, that’s certainly true. She’s also played in a Ladies European Tour event, finishing in a share of 14th in the Aramco Saudi Ladies International behind world number one Lydia Ko.

With that form, and her experience in coastal conditions – all her Investec South African Women’s Open titles have come at coastal courses, at San Lameer, Westlake and Steenberg – she is a formidable hurdle the whole field will have to overcome.

“I see the weather is going to be not too great, maybe a little a bit of rain for a couple of days, but that’s Cape Town and we have to deal with it,” said Pace. ““I think it’s my ball flight that means I do well here and in the wind. I have got a lower ball flight and can control it both ways. It’s the control over the ball and just feeling at home.

“My game is really good. I was hitting balls and I can hit every shot that I want to and then I know my swing is in a good enough place to play any course here.”

She’s also very relaxed ahead of her attempt at a hat-trick of Investec South African Open titles because she’s at home.

 “I love the fact that family and friends get to come and watch,” she said. “I have so much support every time I come back here. It’s nice to play in front of them, they never really get to see it live so that definitely gives me a little bit of a boost.”

She’s also relaxed because she has worked out ways to make her schedule work for her, instead of against her. “I suppose I feel more relaxed out there because of age but also I made a decision to play a little bit less and I don’t feel burnt out, I feel like I have a lot of energy. I’m playing one shot at a time and letting the golf speak for itself,” she said.

She’s also excited by what she sees coming out of the growth of the Sunshine Ladies Tour at home. “I have been playing on the Sunshine Ladies Tour for 10 years now and there’s been massive growth in women’s golf in general, but it’s also amazing to be part of this tour and this growth.

“The youngsters coming through are amazing, they’re really long hitters and really good ball strikers. There are good players coming through from South Africa, last week we had a couple in the top 10 in the Joburg Ladies Open and it’s fantastic.”

She had to endure a six-hole play-off for her fifth title last year, and that goes to show how much she will endure as she goes for number six.

That makes betting on her a good prospect.