14 May 2021: Home heroine Lee-Anne Pace and Wales’ Lydia Hall tied for the lead on the opening day of the South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club. Tvesa Malik is two shots back from the leaders after working up an even 72 on her card on Thursday.
Tvesa made three birdies in her round, at the third, seventh and twelfth holes. The Indian is seeking to emulate her compatriot Diksha Dagar, who won the title in 2019.
Pace, who won the LET Order of Merit in 2010, fired a two-under-par 70 to sit alongside Hall as the early clubhouse leaders held onto their one-stroke advantage from South African duo Tandi McCallum and Nicole Garcia.
Three-time SA Women’s Open champion Pace recorded a bogey on the 12th hole but bounced straight back with a birdie at the next to remain at level-par before making an eagle on the par-five seventh.
“The eagle was three really good shots,” said the nine-time LET winner. “There are a lot of things on my mind, but you try and push it to the back and just hit one shot at a time.
“Trying to hit the fairways, and the greens are very important – they’re smaller so if you do hit the greens, you’re always going to have a nice putt for birdie. I’m breaking those big goals into small goals and I reached them today.”
Hall, who clinched her only LET victory at the 2012 ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters, made a birdie on the second, before dropping a shot on the 11th but bounced back with successive birdies.
Another birdie on the 15th followed by a bogey on the 16th saw the Welsh golfer head to the clubhouse with a share of the lead.
“There was a couple of poor iron shots into the greens, which I’m going to work on, but overall, I’m really happy with how today went,” Hall said.
“I’m not too bad at a little bit of a bounce back. I spur myself on when I have made a little bit of an error. To try and pull it back and make a birdie on the next hole is important to me. It is a great opportunity to get a win under my belt. I love playing here and I’ve never played in a US Women’s Open.”
South African McCallum recorded five birdies and four bogeys on the opening day, as compatriot Garcia’s four birdies on the back nine saw her move up the leaderboard to sit one shot back from the leaders.
Sweden’s Johanna Gustavsson led at one point in the afternoon thanks to her blistering start with five birdies and a bogey in her opening nine holes. A double bogey and three further dropped shots put her back to one-over-par before she made a birdie to finish the day level alongside India’s Tvesa Malik.
Nine players sit a shot further back on one-over-par including former LET tournament winners Jenny Haglund and Christine Wolf, France’s Agathe Sauzon and Camille Chevalier, Germany’s Leonie Harm and Karolin Lampert, Slovenia’s Pia Babnik, Spain’s Elia Folch and Switzerland’s Kim Metraux.