LET / Tristan Jones
South African Lee-Anne Pace secured her third LET event of the year when she won the Sanya Ladies open in a playoff on Sunday.
Pace, who started the day one shot behind the overnight leader Ye Na Chung, carded a final round of two-under to finish at 13-under-par and tied with China’s Yu Yang Zhang who flew home with a seven-under-par 65.
However, the 32-year-old from Mossel Bay sunk a downhill 20 foot putt on first playoff hole to secure her eighth LET title in her career. It was Pace’s second Santa Ladies Open win after winning the inaugural event in 2010.
When asked about her putt on the playoff hole, she explained “It was downhill, down grain, about a cup left and Brutal, my caddie, said to me, ‘You’ve got to feel this one in,’ and I did. I made a good stroke so I’m really happy it went in.”
About winning for the second time, “Amazing. I love it here. It’s a really nice feeling to come back and win here again.”
It wasn’t smooth sailing for the South African, she got off to a rocky start,
“I started off a bit shaky today. I hit a few loose shots in the beginning and then I birdied immediately afterwards which was good, I got it back, then she made a birdie so I was two behind and hit it to a metre and a half on that fifth hole. It was a tough shot, a hybrid, but I missed the putt so I was still two behind. I made two birdies in a row and I just started playing really well.”
After birdies on the 15th and 16th Pace had built a one stroke lead and it seemed like she had the title in her hands. However, a three putt on the 17th tied it up again. A par on the 18th ensured that the two players would finish at 13-under-par and a playoff would decide the champion.
Pace sunk her birdie putt on the first playoff hole and the young Chinese player couldn’t match her.
Chung finished outright third at 12-under, with Swede Linda Wessberg and Chinese amateur Yu Ting Shi in fourth place.
It was a pretty good week for the Australians. First round leader Nikki Campbell fired a final round of 69 to finish at six-under-par and outright ninth, while Kristie Smith (73) finished a further shot back and tied for 10th. Alison Whitaker (75) posted a top 20 finish, when she finished tied for 17th at four-under-par.
Frances Bondad (72) finished tied for 22nd at three-under, while Stephanie Na (70) and Sarah Kemp (74) were at two-under and tied for 35th position. Stacey Keating finished at one-under-par and tie for 44th after a closing 73.