MUIRFIELD (Scotland) — A 5-shot lead was lost in the final round. Ashleigh BuhaiStill, she managed to secure her first major title at Womens Open.
Buhai held her nerve to beat In Gee Chun (and the setting sun) in a playoff at Muirfield on Saturday for her first career win in an LPGA Tour event.
The light was slowly dimming and the South African golfer made a spectacular bunker shot on the fourth playoff holes to leave herself with a short par, while Chun settled in for a bogey.
Buhai calmly rolled up from below 3 feet and then held her face in relief. Her entourage then drenched her in water.
Buhai said that she was surprisingly calm about the clutch bunker shot which secured victory. My caddie said to I on the last one that she didnt want me to brag, but she said to me, Show them why theyre No. I was number 1 in bunkers this season, my caddie said to me. You know, she gave me the confidence. It could be Muirfield, South Africans, and bunker shots.
After a memorable bunker shot in the final round, Ernie Els won the mens Open in a playoff at Muirfield. Muirfield had never allowed women until the Womens Open, two years after the vote.
Buhai made things more difficult than they needed to be.
She was in command of the final round by 5-shots and was still 3 strokes ahead of Chun when she made a triple-bogey on 15th par-4.
After finishing at 10-under 274, both players missed long birdie putsts on the 18th, they settled for a playoff.
Buhai stated, I know there are many people in South Africa who have lots of gray hairs after the 15th hole. But Im very proud myself, the fact that I dug deep and kept my head in it to get into that playoff.
Buhai shot an over-par 75 in the final round. Chun was able to score a 70.
Hinako Shibuno, Japans 2019 champion, finished third after missing a chip just off the green that would have made it an all-round playoff.
Chun was in trouble the first two holes of the playoff, but her quick game saved her both times. Chun hit her second shot into a bunker, while Buhai found its heart on the green. The South Korean made a near-perfect bunker shot, just a few yards from the hole, to save the par.
The second was a 8-foot bogey par putt. After sending her second shot wide, and then barely making it onto green with a chip from tall grass, she needed to make the putt.
Buhai almost won the playoff hole. However, her putt for the win was just a few inches from the hole.
Buhais win more made up for her near-miss at the 2019 Womens Open. At Woburn, she was the leader at the halfway stage but finished fifth.
Buhai stated, Forgive me, therell be a few tears, during the trophy presentation. Obviously, there was a lot of hard work involved and many years of dedication.