Lee-Anne Pace comes back for Monday finish, gets 1st LPGA win
South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace won the rain-shortened Blue Bay LPGA on Monday for her first LPGA Tour title and second worldwide victory in nine days.
Four strokes ahead with five holes left when play was suspended Sunday because of darkness, Pace finished off a 5-under-par 67 for a three-stroke victory over Germany’s Caroline Masson.
The 33-year-old Pace won the South African Women’s Open last week for her ninth Ladies European Tour victory. She’s the second South African-born champion in LPGA Tour history, joining 15-time winner Sally Little. The victory was her third in China, following the LET’s Sanya Ladies Open in 2010 and 2013.
"I can’t actually believe it," Pace said. "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 made a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th to finish at 16-under 200 at Jian Lake Blue Bay.
"I look back at last week and how I actually played better toward the end," Pace said. "So, I thought, `Just do the same thing.’ I hit some really nice iron shots coming in on the last few holes. To close out with a birdie is obviously a bonus. I saw Caroline making a move."
Masson birdied the final three holes for a 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.
Wie finished with a 70. She tied for fifth last week in South Korea in her first start since withdrawing from the Evian Championship in September after reinjuring her right hand.
Korda, tied for the second-round lead with Pace, closed with a 72.
Rain delayed play for nearly four hours Sunday with the leaders halfway through the round, leading to the Monday finish in the tournament cut from 72 to 54 holes after play was washed out Friday. The start Monday also was delayed by showers.
"I woke up and heard the weather outside," Pace said. "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 stop on the six-event Asian Swing. The LPGA Taiwan Championship is next week, followed by the Mizuno Classic in Japan.