Lee-Ann set to pick-up the pace
2010 European No.1 Lee-Anne Pace is set to successfully defend her Finnair Masters title this week.
2011 European No.1 Lee-Anne Pace is set to successfully defend her Finnair Masters title when the three-round event gets underway from Thursday at Helsinki Golf Club.
Given her brilliant form last year, when she won five titles around the world, many are surprised that the South African has not yet had her name inscribed on a trophy in 2011, but the 30-year-old from Mossel Bay gave a superb performance at the Deutsche Bank Ladies Swiss Open in her last outing.
She finished equal second, a stroke behind the winner, Diana Luna, on her first attempt at defending.
Now sixth on the Henderson Money List, after seven events played, Pace believes that the time is right to add another title to her resume.
“My expectations are higher now. I think that is normal, but I am still trying to use the same principals as last year,” says Pace.
“I have not won this year but I can feel it is close, like I did last year. I get many questions asking why I am not playing well this year, but the truth is that I am playing well. I just have not won yet.”
She has posted two joint fifth finishes this season, in Australia and Slovakia, as well as a tie for sixth at the Tenerife Ladies Match Play.
“I have come to know myself as a golfer and my game much better and I know what works for me and what doesn’t. I think it’s important to know both,” she said.
Pace won in Switzerland, Wales, then in Finland and twice in China in 2010, to claim the season-ending Henderson Money List, but has been steeling herself for the important tournaments in the summer ahead.
“I think it is going well. I am almost in the same place as where I was last year, but this year I have more experience.
“My goal is to perform well in the majors and in the Evian and in the tournaments which I am defending,” she said.
The memories of her success 11 months ago, when she claimed her third career title with a 54-hole winning total of 199, 14 under par, are still fresh.
“Coming down the last hole I knew I would win. It was very special as it was my second victory in three weeks. I only dreamt of moments like those before it happened.
“It became a reality and the feeling was amazing. There were so many people on the final hole and I received a very nice applause.
“I also lost my wallet on a tram and two girls found it and returned it to me. I was very happy about that.”
She hopes that the experience will stand her in good stead.
“I really like the course in Finland and I always putt well there. I know what to work on before and what shots are required. I think it is a great golf course to play. Different shots are required and the greens are small and fast, which I like.”
Among those hoping to take the trophy out of Pace’s hands are Vikki Laing from Scotland, who finished three strokes behind Pace in second in Finland last year and will be aiming for her maiden victory.
European powerhouses Christel Boeljon, Diana Luna, Becky Brewerton and Caroline Hedwall are also in the field, along with three other former event champions.
Finland’s own Minea Blomqvist will be trying for a second success after her win in 2008, while the 2006 champion, Virginie Lagoutte-Clement from France, will be gunning to cement her position on The European Solheim Cup team rankings, where she currently lies in fourth place.
Denmark’s Lisa Holm Sorensen, who won the event in 2005 when it was cut short due to bad weather, played well again last year when she tied for third place.
The 54-hole tournament takes place from Thursday 30th June to Saturday 2nd July with a €200,000 purse and a first prize of €30,000.
Keith Pelley hits back at 16 players threatening DP World Tour with legal action
Pelley says the sanctions against players who competed in the first LIV Golf event are ‘proportionate’ and ‘fair’.
JT Poston takes two-shot lead at John Deere Classic
The 29-year-old also became the first player on record to open consecutive Tour events with 62 or better.
Ryan Fox surprised to be leading after opening round of Horizon Irish Open
The New Zealander carded a flawless 64 to set the pace at Mount Juliet.
Defiant Lee Westwood does not believe playing in LIV should harm Ryder Cup hopes
Westwood doesn’t agree with penalties and sanctions.
Shane Lowry welcomes closer ties between Tours in response to threat from LIV
The PGA Tour and DP World Tour announced the next phase of their strategic alliance.
Padraig Harrington fears LIV series poses threat to future of DP World Tour
The US Senior Open champion thinks there is only room for the PGA and one other tour in the world game.
Steve Stricker makes Padraig Harrington sweat as Irishman wins US Senior Open
The pair were rival captains in last year’s Ryder Cup in Wisconsin.
Golfers warned of further sanctions if they continue to play in LIV breakaway
The DP World Tour has issued fines of £100,000 and tournament bans to its members who played in the inaugural LIV Golf event earlier this month
DP World Tour hits members who played inaugural LIV series with £100,000 fines
They have also been banned from several forthcoming tournaments including the Scottish Open.
Rory McIlroy not impressed as Brooks Koepka becomes latest big name to join LIV
The world number two labelled the players who have joined the new series as “duplicitous” for the way they have handled their breakaway.