Lee-Anne Pace, the highest ranked player in the field this week, will be looking to start 2015 the way she finished 2014 in winning style at this week RACV Ladies Masters.
The Rolex World No. 29 had a breakthrough 2014, winning her home open, the Cell C South African Women’s Open in October and then a week later she captured her first LPGA title, Blue Bay LPGA, holding off the likes of Inbee Park, Lydia Ko, Jessica Korda, Shanshan Feng and Michelle Wie. She reflected about that incredible month when the media caught up with her after her Pro-am,
“It was just a really good time for me, I went to South Africa and winning my home tournament (SA Women’s Open) was very nice and a special event. Going from there to China after that I didn’t have a lot of expectations but I struck the ball well, it was raining for two weeks solid (South Africa and in China) and I still can’t remember how it all happened because there were so many rain delays. But just to win (Blue Bay LPGA Classic) those back to back was a great end to the year for me.”
The South African started 2014 with a “conditional” card on the LPGA and have to have numerous flights across the Atlantic at the last minute when she got starts. She played well in her limited opportunities and got to play more events when the re-shuffles occurred mid year. The second half of the season was very solid and she finished the year 38th on the LPGA Money list with US$469,559.
When asked about how she felt about her game coming into this event, the 33-year-old explained, “I’ve taken quite a lot of time off this year since Dubai in December I just wanted to have more time to get my head straight again and just relax and get refreshed. I really feel hungry again for the game and hopefully I can do it this week.”
The nine time LET winner likes the changes to the RACV Royal Pines layout, “Yeah it’s really good. I think now you have to think a little bit more, the shapes of the greens you definitely have to be able to shape it in a little bit and land a bit softer maybe if the pins on the right, slopes down. Bit more challenging, I think if the wind gets up it’ll be really good so yeah I like it.”
Pace’s best finish to date was tied 5th a couple of years ago. Pace will have to hold off the likes of former champions Dame Laura Davies, Katherine Kirk, as well as LET Order of Merit winner Charley Hull.