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Pace keen to get up to speed after fall

Date

Jon Tuxworth

Lee-Anne Pace finished 22nd in the 2011 Royal Canberra Ladies Classic.

Lee-Anne Pace finished 22nd in the 2011 Royal Canberra Ladies Classic. Photo: Graham Tidy

Superstition dictates she should prepare for seven years of bad luck, but Lee-Anne Pace is hopeful no more misfortune awaits after an accident cruelled her 2012 season.

The South African badly damaged an elbow tendon falling against a mirror at a Chinese hotel in October, ending her chances of a US LPGA Tour card at the final stage of Qualifying School.

A starter for next month's Australian Women's Open at Royal Canberra, Pace is determined to reclaim her place as one of the world's best. The world No.94 has her sights set on recapturing the form which catapulted her to the 2010 European Tour Order of Merit title with five tournament wins.

''I had to have surgery on my elbow, because there was some glass stuck in my tendon the people in China didn't see,'' Pace said from South Africa.

''I tripped over in the bathroom and tried to stop my fall with my right elbow, and I hit the sharpest part of the mirror, which broke. I'd been injury-free my entire career. But I'm back now and hopefully it's going to be OK.''

Pace says her mishap may prove a blessing, and is now fully refreshed to make up for lost time.

Pace enjoyed a lesson with Australian surfing star Mick Fanning on the Gold Coast in February, and played an invitation tournament in China alongside superfish Michael Phelps. Now revitalised after an enforced three-month break, Pace hopes to steer clear of the water when she looks to kickstart her season at Royal Canberra.

''My mum said everything happens for a reason, so maybe I needed a break,'' she said. ''I don't think I realised that I was really tired at the end of the year from all the travelling back and forth to America I've done the last two years.

''Maybe it's good, because I have a different outlook on the game now, I'm not expecting as much as what I was before. I was getting a little bit frustrated with myself because I wasn't winning, and I think now I'm going to relax and just take it as it comes.''

But she still believes Royal Canberra could be the ideal place to break her drought, having been impressed when she finished 22nd in the 2011 Canberra Ladies Classic.

''It's quite similar to some of the courses in South Africa where it's a little bit tighter and tree-lined, and you have to shape the ball on certain shots,'' she said.

WOMEN'S AUSTRALIAN OPEN

February 14-17 at Royal Canberra Golf Club.

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