TALI, Finland – Lee-Anne Pace is on a roll.
Pace of South Africa shot a 2-under 69 Sunday to secure a three-stroke victory at the Finnair Masters in Finland.
The Ladies European Tour money-list leader won for the third time this season. She took the Ladies Swiss Open in June and the Wales Ladies Championship of Europe two weeks ago, and finished runner-up at Ladies Scottish Open last week.
The 29-year-old from Mossel Bay carded four birdies and two bogeys at Helsinki Golf Club to finish at 14-under for the 54-hole tournament.
She was cruising along with a five-stroke lead until the par-4 18th, when Vikki Laing of Scotland holed a 5-iron shot from 168 yards for eagle.
The scene was similar to last year’s tournament, when Spain’s Beatriz Recari holed a 4-iron shot in a playoff to secure her maiden tour title. However this time, Pace tapped in for a par for the €30,000 winner’s check.
“The way I feel now, I’m reaching for the stars and on top of the world,” Pace said. “I’d like to become one of the best players in the world.”
After heavy rain overnight, leading to a three-hour weather delay Sunday, players struggled on the wet course, which played longer than the previous two days. Pace opened the final round three strokes clear of Laing and extended her lead to four strokes after the Scot bogeyed the second, but Laing recovered with a birdie at No. 4.
Pace bogeyed the long seventh, but Laing double bogeyed the same hole, pushing Pace’s advantage to five strokes. Pace three-putted the 13th to drop back to 11 under with a four-stroke lead.
Pace moved five ahead again with birdies on Nos. 14 and 15 and remained five clear after she and Laing both birdied the 17th hole.
“No one was really making a move on me,” said Pace, who has finished first, equal second and first in her last three tournaments since working with new caddie, Craig Barber-Ball.
“I think everyone struggled a little bit today. Maybe the weather was a bit different. The course was quite wet, so that made a difference also.”
Laing, who also was runner-up to Pace in Switzerland, shot 69.
The 2005 champion, Lisa Holm Sorensen of Denmark, tied for third with Christel Boeljon of the Netherlands, Mollie Fankhauser of the United States and Carin Koch of Sweden.
Ladies European Tour contributed to this report.