Lee-Anne Pace was the home heroine once again as she clinched her fourth Investec South African Women’s Open title carding a final round of 72 for a one-shot win over Germany’s Leonie Harm.
In the Ladies European Tour (LET) curtain-raiser Pace’s victory at Westlake Golf Club, where she finished the tournament on two-over-par, meant she became the first woman to win the title four times and ensures she leads the 2021 Race to Costa del Sol.
Lee-Anne Pace, statements
“I’m so happy to win again – 2014 was my last win on the LET! I hit the ball really well and I felt very comfortable on the golf course,” said Pace, who has won the 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2021 editions of the SA Women’s Open.
“It’s always nice to play at home on the LET – thank you very much for everyone who came over here!”
After play was suspended yesterday, the final group had plenty of golf left as they completed the third round before heading back out onto the course again.
It was Slovenia’s Pia Babnik, the youngest member of the LET, who was in the lead at the conclusion of the third round having carded a 69 to see her level-par for the tournament, but the 17-year-old had a mixed final round which saw her slip out of contention for the win.
Pace, who won the LET Order of Merit in 2010, enjoyed a solid final round where she made two birdies and a bogey on the front nine. The 40-year-old made another birdie on 12 before she dropped two shots on the final two holes, but the South African held on to seal her tenth LET victory.
“I don’t really know what happened on the last two holes, but I guess I had it in the bag,” said Pace. “I’m actually quite glad I played out on the 18th and didn’t go for it, I thought I had to go for it because the last score I saw was that +1 was in second-place, but my short game is pretty good, so I thought if I play out on the green then I have a chance and the worst case was play-off.
“I hit the ball on the right side of the hole for the whole day. There were a couple of putts that could easily have dropped that didn’t. I was very happy with my game, I hit a lot of the greens and level-par – I did it!”
There was a lot on the line for Pace, who walks away with the first-place winner’s check of €30,000 and tops the Race to Costa del Sol. The ten-time LET winner also secures the Investec Order of Merit for the Sunshine Ladies Tour, as well as the brand-new Investec Homegrown Trophy.
The 76th US Women’s Open takes place in June and the top four players at the Investec SA Women’s Open qualified their place at the second Major of the year. Pace and Harm, who recorded her best-ever finish on the LET at this tournament, head to The Olympic Club in San Francisco alongside Germany’s Karolin Lampert and South Africa’s Nicole Garcia who finished T3.
Pace added: “I really wanted that US Women’s Open spot! I was super happy about that. I love the US Open – it’s such a challenge. I’m looking forward to that and very grateful that we had those spots.”