Ashleigh Buhai defeated In Gee Chun at the fourth extra hole of a sudden-death play-off to win her first major title in dramatic style in the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield.
The 33-year-old South African let slip a five-shot overnight lead with a closing four-over 75 – largely due to a triple bogey at the 15th – to finish level with Chun on ten under par.
However, Buhai held her nerve to finally win with a par at the fourth time of playing the par-4 18th to secure her biggest win. Ranked 84th in the world, and with three previous Ladies European Tour wins to her name, Buhai denied Korea’s Chun a fourth major victory.
Ashleigh Buhai celebrates with husband David after winning the AIG Women’s Open
In breezy conditions once more on the East Lothian coast, it proved a fascinating final round. After the opening nine holes, Buhai’s healthy overnight advantage had been cut to just one. Chun’s fine front nine, with birdies at 2, 4 and 6, saw her reach 12-under, while Buhai dropped back to 13 under after a second bogey of the day at the par-5 9th.
Bogeys from Chun at 10 and 12 allowed Buhai to regain control and a three-shot lead. However, after driving into the bunker on the par-4 15th, she then took two shots in the heavy rough leading to a card-destroying triple-bogey seven to fall back level with Chun. The pair parred the closing three holes to finish level at the top before Buhai’s play-off triumph, winning with a brilliant greenside bunker shot for a decisive par in fading light.
“I’m a little overwhelmed to be honest,” said the winner. “I’m trying to take a breath, but it’s obviously fantastic to win the AIG Women’s Open, it’s a dream come true. I was fairly calm in the play-off, I just tried to focus on what I was doing. I loved this course. It played like a links course should, firm and fast, and the wind did what it was supposed to do to be a true test.
She added: “It’s a huge honour to have more South African success here at Muirfield. To follow Ernie Els and Gary Player, who were two of my idols growing up, and for us to play here for the first time, making history, I’m very honoured and very proud to be South African right now.”
Japan’s Hinako Shibuno missed out on the play-off by a single shot after a closing 71 and the 2019 champion had to settle third place. Leona Maguire (66), Minjee Lee (69) and Madelene Sagstrom (71) tied for fourth spot on seven under. American Rose Zhang, the number one ranked amateur in the world, win the Smyth Salver for leading amateur after finishing on one-over-par for her 72 holes following a closing 73.
View the final round scores from the AIG Women’s Open here.
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