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5th July 2014 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Pace within striking distance at Masters

Lee-Anne PaceASLTFormer Ladies European Tour number one, Lee-Anne Pace, is in a challenging position heading into the weekend at the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters in England.


South Africa’s top ranked golfer reeled in five birdies at the par-72 layout at Buckinghamshire Golf Club near London for a three under 69 and a share of fourth on five-under-par 139.


The Investec Cup for Ladies champion sits just four shots behind joint overnight leader, Sarah Kemp from Australia, who returned a 68 to set the 36-hole target at nine under.


Pace enjoyed a solid start with back-to-back birdies, gave one back at the par-four fourth, but birdied the par-five ninth to turn in one under. She negated a birdie at the 11th with a bogey at the 13th, but rallied with birdie number five at the par-four 15th to get back to three under.


Eight-time LET champion Pace said the experience of playing on the LPGA Tour in the United States and a few putting lessons with fellow South African pro, Nicole Bekker, has made a world of difference to her game.


“It has been quite windy and hot here for the last two days, but I played very consistently and didn’t make many mistakes,” the Pearl Valley golfer said.


"I’m starting to putt well after some help from Nicole, who is over here to coach some of the players. It’s great to be in contention again. I think playing in America has really improved the way I am playing and has been great for my preparation for this week and the Ricoh Women’s British Open next week.”


Joint overnight leader Celine Herbin of France carded a 71 to tie for second on 138 alongside Amy Boulden from Wales, who carded successive rounds of 69.


Pace shares fourth with IK Kim from Korea (68), Australian Minjee Lee (68), American Amelia Lewis (71) and 12-time LET winner, Gwladys Nocera of France, who carded a 70.


Meanwhile fellow South African Stacy Bregman also stayed in touch with a second round 71. The reigning Zambia Ladies Open champion gathered four birdies to offset three bogeys and lags just six shots off the pace at three under 141.


Compatriot Connie Chen dropped four shots after turning in even-par, but knocked in two birdie putts down the home straight for a 74 and a share of 42nd on 147.


On a day when the temperatures soared just south of 30 degrees, three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner, Ashleigh Simon struggled to a six-over-par 78, but finished just inside the cut at six-over-par 150 with five bogeys, a double at the par-four third and a lone birdie at the 14th on her card.


Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini turned in even-par after a trio of birdies and bogeys, but shot to five over after a bogey at the fifth, a double at the sixth and two more drops at the seventh and eighth. The LET rookie looked in serious danger, an eagle three at the par-five ninth saw her into the weekend.


Fellow LET rookie,Kim Williams, had two double bogeys and three more drops in her opening loop to turn six over. The Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies Houghton champion dropped two more shots coming home before a birdie at the ninth saw her close with a costly 81.


Namibia’s Bonita Bredenhann will also miss the weekend action after rounds of 79 and 91.


PHOTO – Former Ladies European Tour number one, Lee-Anne Pace; credit Luke Walker.