Lee-Anne Pace won the South African Open for the fifth time, Colombotto Rosso takes first LETAS title and J.J. Spaun is heading to The Masters

As well as Jennifer Kupcho securing the first Major of the season, it was a busy week across the other tours in Europe and America.

Lee-Anne Pace overturned a seven-shot deficit to win her fifth Investec South African Women’s Open at Steenberg Golf Club. The South African secured her 11th Ladies European Tour title after an epic six-hole play-off.

Overnight leader Becky Brewerton, who had a five-shot lead heading into the final round, slipped out of contention after a final round six-over-par 78.

The local talent started the day seven shots behind the leader, but the Cape Town native played the conditions superbly throughout the day, as she registered a final round score of two-under-par 70 to put herself into contention alongside Magdalena Simmermacher, before a bogey from Brewerton saw her miss out on the play-off. 

Pace kept things cool for the first part of her round in Cape Town, but a terrific turnaround on Saturday saw her put herself back in contention, with pars all through the front nine, before birdies on 10, 12 and 16 putting her back among the conversation, albeit with a dropped shot on the 11th. 

Meanwhile, Simmermacher had led after the first round in Cape Town, but found herself alongside Pace on two-over-par heading into the final day, with a third round five-over-par 77 seeing her drop down the standings in the breezy conditions. 

Birdies on five and nine put the Argentinian in contention, before two bogeys and two birdies in the back nine saw her complete the day in 70 shots and set up a nail-biting finale. 

The play-off

The par-five 18th had been causing issues for players all week, with the tight green and water on the right-hand side meaning there was all sorts of trouble to be avoided, and as such, both players kept things fairly routine for their opening three goes down the last, with pars apiece every time. 

Then with the tee box moved forward 75 metres, things started to get interesting, with both players chasing the green in two. A miraculous bunker escape from Simmermacher then forced a fifth play-off hole, before two fantastic approaches and putts saw the duo head back to the tee for a sixth time. 

And that’s when the pressure eventually told, as Simmermacher hit her second into the water, paving the way for Pace to two-putt her way to victory, and she made no mistake - earning herself a record fifth Investec South African Women’s title in the process. 

Pace heading to the U.S. Women's Open

The 41-year-old secured her 11th LET victory and also earned herself a place at the U.S. Women’s Open in June, making it a double celebration for the South African star in front of her home crowd. Pace said:

“I can’t believe it, I honestly can’t believe it, I’m in shock, it’s great to earn a place in the Majors as well.

“Nobody likes to see what happened to Becky, it’s very disappointing for her, but it’s so great to see her back at the top and back playing up there where she belongs.

“And that bunker shot Maggie played was unbelievable, she didn’t have a good stance and it was very intimidating, but she stuck it. I blasted a couple past but at least I made the return putts."

2022 Joburg Ladies Open champion Linn Grant backed up last week’s victory with another strong performance. Seventh place for Grant was also enough for her to seal the Investec Order of Merit title, with three victories in South Africa to start the year, with the win in Johannesburg adding to successes at the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge and Jabra Ladies Classic in February. 

Grant commented:

“I just had the best couple of weeks here, I’m glad that I decided to come for eight weeks and start my season over here.”

Victory in Cape Town takes Lee-Anne to the top of the 2022 Race to Costa del Sol rankings, as she sits on 681.67 points, with Grant in second-place on 586.25 points following her T7 finish in Cape Town.

First LET Access Series win for Colombotto Rosso

Lucrezia Colombotto Rosso LETAS
Lucrezia Colombotto Rosso - image credit Philippe Millereau

Lucrezia Colombotto Rosso secured victory at the Terre Blanche Ladies Open after beating Chiara Noja in a play-off.

After rounds of 70 and 69 on the first two days, the Italian produced a final round of 70 to put her at seven-under-par for the tournament level with Noja.

It took until the fourth extra hole for Colombotto Rosso to make birdie and capture her first title on the LET Access Series.

It was a second-place finish for the 16-year-old Noja who made two bogeys and one birdie on her front nine before an eagle on the 10th.

Back-to-back bogeys on 11 and 12 were soon forgotten with back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 and despite dropping a shot on the 17th, Noja signed for a round of 72 (E) to equal her best finish on LETAS.

Amateurs Lottie Woad of England and Nastasia Nadaud of France finished tied eighth on one-over-par.

In the LETAS Order of Merit, Colombotto Rosso’s win ensures she sits at the top of the rankings with 500 points, with Noja in second (320 points) and Moyano in third (230 points).

The next LETAS event is the Flumserberg Ladies Open which takes place on May 12-14 at Gams-Werdenberg Golf Club.

J.J. Spaun gets the final place at The Masters

As well as securing his first PGA Tour title at the Valero Texas Open, J.J. Spaun has received an invite to The Masters.

The 31-year-old, who was part of a four-way tie at the top of the leaderboard heading into the final day, overcame a double bogey on the first to go on to victory.

The American posted a final round three-under-par 69 to finish at 13-under-par and two shots clear of Matt Jones and Matt Kuchar.

After his win, Spaun said:

“It's still unbelievable. I knew I could win out here on Tour. When I first got out here, I was playing really good and then obviously had a setback kind of two years ago. I don't know, it's just, just perseverance, just trying to push through and just stay strong. It's a great feeling to be in the winner's circle and now it's like a game changer.”

And on his first appearance at The Masters:

“It means the world. You only dream of playing there for most of us. To think that we're going to be heading there tonight or tomorrow is incredible. I'm really looking forward to it and I can't wait. Hopefully, I can have another good week there, too.”

First Epson Tour win for Andrea Lee

It took 75 holes, but Andrea Lee captured her first professional title on Sunday at the Epson Tour Casino Del Sol Golf Classic with a par on the third hole of a play-off against Lucy Li. Both players finished 18-under at Sewailo Golf Club, as Lee carded a final-round 69 and Li recorded six birdies for a 4-under 68.

“It feels amazing. After everything I’ve been through the last couple of years, it’s really special and to have my dad on the bag makes it all the better. I’m so grateful for the journey and what it took to get to this point.”

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