Female golfer Pace withdraws from Rio 2016


Lee-Anne Pace has announced she will not compete at the 2016 Olympics amid fears over the Zika virus, becoming the first female golfer to confirm her withdrawal.

Golf is making its return to the Games in Rio after a 112-year absence, but has been hit by a host of withdrawals, with many players citing health concerns.

And Pace, who sat 20th in the most recent Olympic rankings, has joined male colleagues such as Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Adam Scott, as well as South African compatriots Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace and Charl Schwartzel, in pulling out.

"After weighing up all the options and discussing it with my family and team, I have decided that due to the health concerns surrounding the Zika virus, I will not be participating," the 35-year-old said in a statement.

"I hope that everyone can understand that this was a very difficult decision to come to, however my health and my future family's health must come first."

The LPGA has said it will "respect and support" the decisions of its members with regards to participating in Brazil.

Four-time major winner McIlroy ruled himself out of the Games for the same reasons as Pace, with the Zika virus linked to serious birth defects.

He explained: "Unfortunately with where it is this year, people just aren't comfortable going down there and putting themselves or their family at risk."