Pace records maiden LPGA victory

Lee-Anne Pace won her maiden title on the LPGA Tour at the rain-shortened Blue Bay LPGA on Monday.

In what was the South African’s second victory in just nine days – she won her ninth Ladies European Tour title at the South African Women’s Open last week – the 33-year-old carded a third round 65 to finish three strokes ahead of Germany’s Caroline Masson at Jian Lake Blue Bay.

The victory makes Pace only the second South African to win on the LPGA Tour, after 15-time winner Sally Little.

“I can’t actually believe it,” Pace admitted.

“I’m still so in the moment of one shot at a time that I think it’s going to hit me. It’s like, literally, now I can relax. It’s amazing. Obviously, one of my life goals, not only on the golf course, but to do something like that very special.”

Pace reached a score of 16-under at the 54-hole tournament which was cut short due to persistent rain earlier this week.

Masson needed consecutive birdies on the last three holes to move into second place with a third round 67.

“I’m happy with that finish and that was all I could do,” Masson said.

“Obviously, I wanted to play. I was in a good position and wanted to play. I knew we were going to play and we probably were going to play in any condition. … I fought hard.”

Michelle Wie and Jessica Korda tied for third at 11-under after rounds of 70 and 72 respectively.

Korda led the event after the first round and was tied at the top of the leaderboard with Pace after round two, but fell off the pace in the latter stages of the event.

“I woke up and heard the weather outside,” Pace continued.

“So, I had a fairly good idea it was going to be delayed. I took my time, got coffee, went for a lengthy breakfast. I had a lot of coffee. Felt tired this morning, but all in all, felt pretty confident. I knew I was hitting well. I knew I could do it down the stretch. I’ve done it before.”

The tournament was the fourth in a sex-event Asian Swing, with the LPGA Taiwan Championship taking place next week and the Mizuno Classic in Japan the following week.