With Reid out, Pace aims to extend money-list lead

Lee-Ann Pace of South Africa

Finnair Masters

Tournament starts Friday. For live updates and scores, visit ladieseuropeantour.com

TALI, Finland – Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa, who just missed out on another Ladies European Tour victory last week with a tie for second at the Ladies Scottish Open, didn’t go home empty-handed. The 29-year-old from Mossel Bay moved to the top of the Henderson Money List.

She’ll be aiming to go one better at this week’s Finnair Masters, starting Friday at Helsinki Golf Club.

While Pace arrives with a hot hand, veteran Virginie Lagoutte-Clement of France carries in her own momentum after taking the Scottish Open title last week. Lagoutte-Clement, a previous champion of the Finnair Masters, won here at Helsinki in 2006. She joins other past winners Minea Blomqvist (2008) and Lisa Holm Sorensen (2005) in the field.

Blomqvist of Finland is the home favorite. She held off the challenge of fellow Finn Ursula Wikstrom two years ago for her second LET victory.

Pace has twice tied for 16th in Finland and will be looking to put some distance between herself and No. 2 Melissa Reid of England in the money title race. Pace, a two-time winner this year, is now €13,660 clear of Reid, who is skipping this week.

Australian Karen Lunn, the 2010 Portugal Ladies Open winner, will tee up in Finland for the sixth time, hoping to earn the winner’s share of €30,000 from the €200,000 prize fund.

England’s Trish Johnson, who shared second last week in Scotland, is targeting her second title of the season after her 19th career win last month in Tenerife.

There are 11 Finnish players in the field of 108 and five amateurs, including Caroline Hedwall of Sweden, who won the Smyth Salver as the leading amateur at the Women’s British Open.

Twenty-two nations will be represented. India’s Sharmila Nicollet and the Japanese duo of Asuka Tsujimura and Mayumi Nakajima received sponsor invites.

The sixth edition of the Finnair Masters takes place over 54 holes Friday to Sunday, with a cut after 36 holes.

Ladies European Tour contributed to this report.

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