Lee-Anne Pace makes SA golf history

3 April 2014

Lee-Anne Pace made South African golf history this week by becoming the first woman to be named the country’s outright Golfer of the Year at the annual Compleat Golfer Awards

In 2010, Pace shared the award with Open champion Louis Oosthuizen after a watershed season that saw her finish the year ranked as the number one golfer on the Ladies European Tour.

Stellar season

Pace enjoyed another stellar season in 2013, finishing in second place on the Ladies European Tour’s ISPS Handa Order of Merit.

She raised her winning tally in Europe to eight with victories at the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open in May, the Open de Espana in July and the Sanya Ladies Open in China in October. She also finished as runner-up in the Allianz Ladies Slovak Open.

In addition, Pace recorded another five top 10 finishes that helped lift her season’s earnings to €250 927.

Players’ Player of the Year

Pace was named the Ladies European Tour’s Players’ Player of 2013 by her peers, a distinction she also earned in 2010, and was nominated as Sports Woman of the Year at the South African Sports Awards.

The Pearl Valley Golf Estate player, who also received the Women’s Professional Golf Association (WPGA) Golfer of the Year award for a fourth year running, enjoyed a superb start to her 2014 season on the inaugural Sunshine Ladies Tour.

In three starts, she finished fourth at the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am, third in the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies at Glendower and second at the SuperSport Challenge.

With that strong run she qualified for the season-ending finale, which was limited to the top 10 available pros on the Order of Merit, and romped to a six-stroke victory in the Investec Cup for Ladies at Sun City.

Winner’s speech

The 33-year-old recorded a video for this week’s Compleat Golfer Awards before she left for the United States for the season’s first Major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship in California

“I suppose I should first thank the boys for not winning a Major last year,” Pace quipped. “I am incredibly honoured to have been named Golfer of the Year. To be the first female to receive this award is a privilege and honour.

“I would like to thank my sponsors Investec, Cobra-Puma, Oakley and First Car Rental for their unbelievable support in 2013, and who allowed me to compete in a stress-free environment, and [they] should all share in this honour.

“My appreciation also goes to my two coaches, Val Holland and James Petts, without whom this incredible season would not have been possible.

“Finally, I would like to thank the Compleat Golfer for hosting these awards each year. You have been fantastic in your support of all the South African golfers and we appreciate everything you do to promote the game, especially for female players.

“I hope this achievement will inspire other players and help to grow the Sunshine Ladies Tour.”

SAinfo reporter