Buhai beat KPMG Women’s PGA Champion In Gee Chun on the fourth extra hole to join fellow South Africans Gary Player and Ernie Els in celebrating a major win at Muirfield; The 33-year-old lost a five-stroke lead before winning in the play-offs
Last update: 08/08/22 10:24
In what was her first major win, Ashleigh Buhai felt “very proud” after defeating In Gee Chun at the AIG Women’s Open after a play-off.
Ashleigh Buhai was proud of how she rallied from a five-stroke lead to secure a “life-changing” Major title and historic win at the AIG Women’s Open.
Buhai took a decisive lead on the final day at Muirfield and remained in control of the tournament when she took a three-stroke advantage on the par-four 15th, only to rack up a triple bogey and move level at the top of the ranking. with In Gee Chun.
The South African finished alongside the three-time major champion on 10 under after a four-for-75, leading the contest to a sudden-death play-off, where a superb back-and-forth from Buhai on the extra fourth hole earned her a dramatic victory.
Laura Davies and Henni Koyack discuss Ashleigh Buhai’s meltdown in the 15th, where the South African nearly put herself out of contention for the AIG Women’s Open title.
“I mean, that’s probably the worst swing I’ve had all week,” Buhai admitted of the 15th hole after his win. “It was a bit quick at the top, but if I had had a half rest in that bunker, a plug on the drive, I could have taken it out the other way down the fairway. Obviously the error has been aggravated.
“I didn’t freak out, which I thought was huge, and just tried to get a good swing the next day and just tried to get some good swings to give myself a chance.
Highlights from day four of the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield.
“It was very easy to panic and probably go home in an ambulance. I saw the rankings go up 16, I think, and I was like, okay, hit it. Have a good swing. You can only control this shot. Hit this shot now at the time.
“I hit a really good bunker shot at 17. Hit the putt where I wanted. That’s all I could do, just a little misreading. Play 18 like I did, but so many times and hitting that tee shot, it’s a tough tee shot, so I was really happy with how I handled it.
The victory sees Buhai become South Africa’s second major winner, with you, 33, joining compatriots Gary Player (1959) and Ernie Els (2002) to win a major at Muirfield.
“I’m so proud of myself, how deep I dug to get into the play-offs,” added. “It’s so hard to put into words right now. It might only hit me in a few days, but obviously I’m very proud.
“We’re a very small country so to be able to produce quite a few major champions is something, and now for me to be a big South African winner, I have no words – it’s life changing. “
Ashleigh Buhai won a spectacular maiden major title at the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield – take a look at her winning moment here.
Former champion Hinako Shibuno finished a shot outside the play-offs after a final round 71, with Ireland’s Leona Maguire two shots further in a tie for fourth alongside Madelene Sagstrom and Minjee Lee.
Maguire, who got his best result yet in a major thanks to an eagle and three birdies in a clear closing 66, said: “(I’m) really thrilled. I don’t think I could have played much better today. few chances ahead, would have been nice to putt a few more but it was tough out there and definitely my best golf of the week.
“Any time you shoot bogey-free under par in the last round of a major, you’re happy, so that’s good momentum for next week (the ISPS Handa World Invitational in Northern Ireland).”