SYLVANIA, Ohio — Lee-Anne Pace made a name for herself as an amateur in her native South Africa, then proved herself with eight wins on the Ladies European Tour.
Now she’s ready to make waves in the U.S.
Pace shot 3-under-par 68 on Saturday to grab a share of the third-round lead with Laura Diaz (71 on Saturday) in the Marathon Classic.
Pace can barely express what a breakthrough win on the LPGA Tour might bring.
“It’ll mean quite a lot to be able to come out here and play well,” she said after recovering from bogeys at the 11th and 12th holes with three late birdies. “It already has made my week. I was so tired in the beginning of the week and now this has happened, so I’m very excited.”
It was a day of highs and lows for Diaz, the leader since birdieing her first five holes in an opening 62. She led by four and then three strokes after the first two rounds.
Chasing her first win since 2002, she could have regained the outright lead but left a 7-foot birdie putt short on the 18th.
Rookie Jaye Marie Green shot 63 for the day’s best round and was at 203 along with 2012 Marathon winner So Yeon Ryu, who had 68.
WEB.COM TOUR: In Boise, Idaho, Steven Alker had been lurking around the lead all week in the Boise Open.
On Saturday, he took over the top spot after shooting 6-under-par 65.
Alker is two shots ahead of Steve Wheatcroft (65 on Saturday) and Zack Sucher (68).
Alker is at 20-under 193 for three trips over Hillcrest Country Club.
Evans resident Vaughn Taylor shot 68 and is tied for 40th place at 204.
MEN’S PUBLIC LINKS: In Newton, Kan., Byron Meth beat Doug Ghim on the first playoff hole after blowing a three-hole lead down the stretch to win the title.
The event is being discontinued after this tournament, which means Meth will be the last player to earn a Masters Tournament invitation as the winner. He will play in the 2015 Masters.
Meth, who plays for the University of Pacific, evened the match on the 36th hole of regulation at Sand Creek Station Golf course when 18-year-old Ghim, who is heading to the University of Texas, made double bogey.
Ghim had taken the lead with an eagle on the 35th hole.
Playing the par-5 10th in the playoff, both found the fairway off the tee. Ghim then hit into tall grass around a water hazard. He punched and took a bogey. Meth two-putted for the win.
The match was also even after the first 18 holes.
WOMEN’S PUBLIC LINKS: In Dupont, Wash., Fumie (Alice) Jo defeated medalist Eun Jeong Seong, 3 and 2, at The Home Course to become the first player from mainland China to claim a USGA title in the event’s finale.
Seong had set a Women’s Amateur Public Links 18-hole record with 64 in the second round of qualifying (she shot 70 in the first qualifying round).
“I think I was really lucky to beat her today,” the 15-year-old Jo said of the 14-year-old Seong. “She is very good.”
Jo never trailed in the final. She birdied the third hole to take the lead, and she was 2 up after the first 18 holes.
TAHOE CELEBRITY: In Stateline, Nev., former NHL star Jeremy Roenick shot a second-round 69 to take the lead after 36 holes and former LPGA great Annika Sorenstam and Chad Pfeifer, who lost his left leg above the knee serving in Iraq, are among several players in contention in the American Century Championship.
Roenick has 48 points in the modified Stableford scoring system.