MUIRFIELD, Scotland – After taking a five-shot lead within the last spherical, Ashleigh Buhai nonetheless received her first main title on the Ladies’s Open.
Buhai saved his cool to beat In Gee Chun – and the solar set – within the playoffs at Muirfield on Sunday to say his first profession win in an LPGA Tour occasion.
As the sunshine pale, the South African golfer hit an incredible bunker shot on the fourth playoff gap to go away himself with a brief par putt, whereas Chun tackled a bogey.
Buhai calmly rolled in from lower than 3 meters excessive and clutched her face to breathe a sigh of reduction, earlier than being drenched in water and different drinks by her entourage.
“I used to be surprisingly calm,” Buhai mentioned of the clutch bunker hit that ensured victory. “My curator instructed me within the final sentence, I don’t wish to brag, however she mentioned, ‘Present them why you’re #1 on this 12 months’s bunkers. ‘ So, you recognize, she gave me confidence. Perhaps it has to do with the Muirfields and South Africans and the bunker pictures. ”
Ernie Els additionally received the lads’s Open championship within the playoffs at Muirfield in 2002 after a memorable bunker hit within the last spherical. It was the primary time the Ladies’s Open was held at Muirfield, a membership that didn’t even enable feminine members till 2019 after a vote two years earlier.
Nonetheless, Buhai made issues much more troublesome.
She entered the ultimate spherical with a five-shot benefit and remained a three-stroke lead earlier than a triple bogey at par-4 at 15, placing her degree with Chun.
Each gamers missed lengthy birdies on the 18th as they settled the playoffs after ending 10 beneath 274.
“I do know lots of people in South Africa with plenty of grey hair proper after that fifteenth gap,” Buhai mentioned. “However I’m very happy with myself, the way in which I dug deep and saved myself in that playoff.”
Buhai shot 4 of 75 within the last spherical, whereas Chun scored 70.
Japan’s Hinako Shibuno, the 2019 champion, completed a third-place end after lacking a chip from simply outdoors the inexperienced space that ought to have was a three-stage playoff.
Chun struggled on the primary two playoff holes, however her quick play protected her each occasions. On the primary, Chun lands a second hit on a bunker whereas Buhai finds the guts of the inexperienced. However the Korean participant unleashed a near-perfect bunker shot inside ft of the outlet to avoid wasting the rating.
On the second flip, she wanted to make an 8-foot magic hit to remain in it after the second shot went broad after which almost didn’t do it with a chip from the tall grass. .
Buhai narrowly received it on the third playoff gap, however her lengthy putt to win pulled up a couple of inches from the outlet.
For Buhai, the win greater than made up for that close to miss on the 2019 Ladies’s Open, when she led the occasion within the midfield at Woburn however completed fifth.
“Forgive me, there shall be a couple of tears,” Buhai mentioned through the trophy ceremony. “Clearly it took plenty of exhausting work and years of dedication to realize this.”