April 24, 2024


Ashleigh Buhai
Ashleigh Buhai follows fellow South Africans Gary Player and Ernie Els in claiming major glory at Muirfield
-10 Buhai* (SA), Chun (Kor); -9 Shibuno (Japan); -7 Sagstrom (Sweden), Lee (Aus), Maguire (Ire)
Selected others: -1 Ewart Shadoff, Duncan (Sco); Level Hall (Eng), Hull (Eng); +3 Reid (Eng); +5 Law (English)
*denotes winner after four-hole playoff
Full scoreboard

Ashleigh Buhai of South Africa rallied from a five-shot lead to beat In Gee Chun of South Korea in a dramatic play-off at the AIG Women’s Open to seal her first major win.

Buhai snapped a fourth playoff gap after Chun sealed victory at 21:10 BST at Muirfield.

The 33-year-old’s commanding lead at the start of the day evaporated as she triple bogeyed the par-four 15th.

That saw her fall back alongside three-time major winner Chun at -10.

The pair could not be separated on the first three play-off holes, matching each other with par, bogey, par.

Buhai eventually settled things with a stunning up-and-down shot from outside the bunker to set up a tap-in for par, while Chun, who found a bunker off the tee, was no match.

“Life changing”

Buhai is the first South African to win the tournament since 1979 and earns $1.095m (£907,000) from his $7.3m (£6.05m) purse.

“I’m so proud of myself, how deep I dug to get into the play-offs,” said Buhai, who along with compatriots Gary Player (1959) and Ernie Els (2002) won a major title at Muirfield.

“It’s so hard to put into words right now. It may 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 a number of major champions is just something, and now to be a female South African grand winner, I’m speechless – it’s life-changing.”

Chun, 27, added: “I never gave up and gave it my all. Ashleigh played a great shot and deserved it. I’m really happy for her.”

Ashleigh Buhai
Ashleigh Buhai is hugged by her husband David

The history of the round

Buhai, the world number 84, had earlier shot a four-over 75 and was three ahead with four holes to play before her late collapse.

Chun, who won the Women’s PGA Championship in June, was tied for second overnight at nine under and got off to a strong start as she birdied three of the first nine holes.

But two bogeys on the back nine saw her mark for a one-under 70.

Japan’s Hinako Shibuno, who also started the day at nine under, had a mixed round that included an eagle at the par five. She was still in contention at the 18th and needed a birdie, but her par saw her score a 71 to finish nine under in third place.

Maguire records the best long finish

Ireland’s Leona Maguire had the round of the day as she carded a 66 to finish tied for fourth at seven under with Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom and Australia’s Minjee Lee.

Maguire, who secured her best finish to date in a major, said: “I don’t think I could have played much better today. If I had a few chances it would have been nice to hit a few more pars, but it was tough out there and definitely my best golf of the week so far.”

England’s Jody Ewart Sandoff and Scotland’s Louise Duncan were the top British women tied for 19th at one under, while English duo Charlie Hull and Georgia Hall finished level with compatriot Mel Reed at three over.


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