Lee-Anne Pace recorded her third top-20 of the LPGA Tour season at last week’s Lotte Championship and announced her readiness to once again contend for a title.
The ever-smiling Paarl local was triumphant at the Blue Bay LPGA in 2014, but that was her first and last foray into the winners’ circle in America.
Pace has dominated the Sunshine Ladies Tour for the last three years, where her tie for second at the Investec Cup in March ended a run of nine consecutive victories between 2014 and 2016.
The 35-year-old has gone two years without lifting silverware on the LPGA Tour, however, where the likes of Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson are at the peak of women’s golf.
Pace is not far behind those counterparts and has quietly risen to 37th on that tour’s Order of Merit and 53rd in the Rolex World Rankings.
The obvious next step would be for her to win on the LPGA Tour, where she has top-15 results from her last two starts.
Ko, meanwhile, will turn 19 on Sunday and wants a third consecutive title at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic for her birthday. The world number one’s tied-23rd finish in Hawaii last week was her worst result of the 2016 season and she is the player to beat.
Pace will need to draw on her wisdom to come out on top, as she has done many times on local soil. Her form is good enough, but it will take a gutsy performance to outplay the world’s best. She certainly seems ready.