South African Lee-Anne Pace is feeling confident ahead of this week’s Hero Honda Women’s Indian Open, which starts on Thursday November 11 at DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon, near New Delhi.
She shot a brilliant final round of six-under-par 66 on the final day to finish tied for seventh at last week’s Daishin Securities Tomato M Korea European Ladies Masters.
Pace, who is leading the Henderson Money List on Ladies European Tour, thus extended her lead over England’s Laura Davies to €62,946.
The prize purse this week is €225,000, the highest ever in Indian women’s professional golf history and Pace hopes to move even further ahead by securing the €33,750 first prize.
The 29-year-old from Mossel Bay won twice in two weeks in China prior to Korea, firstly at the Sanya Ladies Open in Hainan and then at the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open in Suzhou.
She had already claimed the Deutsche Bank Ladies Swiss Open, S4C Wales Ladies Championship of Europe and Finnair Masters this year and now has five victories this season: one more than Davies, who has won in New Zealand, Germany, Austria and Spain.
Pace is all set for the Hero Honda Women’s Indian Open and securing the Henderson Money List title. “I’m definitely going for it,” she said. “I’ll do the same thing, now that I’m hitting the ball well again. I think I’m just going to work a little more on striking it a bit better and getting that nice high ball flight.
“I love the heat being from South Africa. I think I’ll play pretty aggressive, depending on the golf course. We normally play pretty aggressive and make a lot of birdies that way. If I make a mistake it’s just one of those things. I’m making enough birdies that I can still go under even if I’m making some mistakes. I’ll try and win it: get up there very early.”
A total of 123 players have entered the tournament, which will be played from November 11-13 and finishes on Saturday and things will not be easy for Pace. The European No.2 Davies will also be gunning for glory along with Sweden’s Helen Alfredsson and Linda Wessberg, Norway’s Marianne Skarpnord and young Thai Phatlum Pornanong, who has won the Indian Open last two times and is very familiar with the DLF Golf and Country Club. Phatlum was third at the Sanya Open in China.
Phatlum was also third at the Thailand Ladies Open this year. She is now looking forward to following in the footsteps of Yani Tseng of Chinese Taipei, who after winning the Indian Open in 2007, went on to become one of the superstars of world golf and is now ranked second in the world.
The 54-hole tournament, which has been signed for three years through until 2012, is tri-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour, the Ladies Asian Golf Tour (LAGT) and Women’s Golf Association of India (WGAI).
There are 19 Indian players in the field, including seven amateurs, India’s leading golfer and LET member Smriti Mehra from Kolkata (Calcutta) as well as rising young star Sharmila Nicollet from Bangalore.