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Lee-Anne four off the pace

South Africa's Lee-Anne Pace is four strokes off the lead going into Sunday's final round of the South African Women's Open at San Lameer Country Club in KwaZulu Natal.

On the first full day of clear weather in this 54-hole tournament, Pace signed for a 73 to put her at level par for the tournament on Saturday. Germany’s Leigh Whittaker heads the field on four under following a career best 67 in perfect conditions on Saturday afternoon. She is one stroke clear of England’s Holly Clyburn and Germany’s Ann-Kathrin Lindner.

“I’m feeling good. I’m hitting the ball fantastically well. I just need to make some birdies now,” said Pace, who is seeking to become the first South African winner of this championship since 2009.

While not entirely satisfied with her round, Pace was pleased to finally get an uninterrupted round under her belt.

“I’m not quite happy with 73. I didn’t hit it as close as I wanted to. I hit some great shots but didn’t get the results. But it was nice to get in a full round today. It helps to get a bit of momentum going. I’m hitting it so well, but with the two suspensions we’ve had it felt like you’re being pulled back a bit.”

At the top of the leaderboard, Whittaker is seeking to become the second German winner of the SA Women’s Open in the last three years following Caroline Masson’s triumph at Selborne Park Golf Club in 2012.

“It was a fun day. For the last few holes I had no idea where I was lying, I was just playing shot for shot. This is the best round of my professional career, and I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and keep it simple,” said Whittaker.

“The delays actually helped because I have some shoulder issues, so the breaks were good.”

Overnight leader Charley Hull was given a two-stroke penalty that saw her finish the day on two under and with a 74.

On the par-three 16th green, Hull addressed her putt and then the putter slipped out of her hand, moving her golf ball. That was already a one-stroke penalty. But Hull played the ball from its new position, and that earned her another penalty stroke.

“It’s disappointing, but that’s golf I suppose,” said Hull.

“I’m not too fazed by it because I can’t do too much about. I think I played pretty well out there overall. On the final day I can still make plenty of birdies, so I’ll be fine.” she said, having responded to her penalty with birdies at 17 and 18.

– Sapa

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