Buhai in charge at SA Women’s Open as Mehaffey falls victim to the mid-way cut

Mark McGowan

Ashleigh Buhai of South Africa (Photo by Lionel Ng/Getty Images)

Olivia Mehaffey’s disappointing South African adventures came to an end as she missed the mid-way cut at the Investec South African Women’s Open in Cape Town, as reigning AIG Women’s Open champion Ashleigh Buhai took control at Steenberg Golf Club.

Having missed the cut at the previous week’s Jo’burg Ladies Open, former Arizona State student Mehaffey’s struggles continued and back-to-back 79s mean she’ll head home earlier than planned, and sitting well outside the cut-off point for entry to next week’s Aramco Team Series in Singapore, we’re unlikely to see her again until the LET returns to Europe for the Jabra Ladies Open at France’s Evian Resort in early May.

Buhai began the day in second place, two strokes behind Chiara Noja after the German teen-sensation fired a course record 10-under-par in Wednesday’s opening round.

Following up the previous day’s heroics was always going to be a struggle for Noja, and despite an early birdie, she’d go double-bogey, bogey at 15 and 16 (her sixth and seventh) before a birdie at the 18th saw her turn at +1 for the day. She’d pick up another two strokes on the front to sign for a 71, moving her to -11 for the tournament.

Buhai, out later in the day, carded seven birdies as she went bogey-free to back up her opening 64 with an arguably more impressive 65 given scoring was considerably higher in the second round, and the South African hoping to win her home championship for the second time leads Noja by four at -15.

“It is always a good day when you have no bogeys, so that’s first things first,” said Buhai, who is number 18 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

“My front nine was a little bit of a slow start, I got a bit unlucky on number five when I hit the flag and it ricocheted. I stayed patient and then managed to finish birdie-birdie. I just managed to hit it to good spots on the greens and made a few putts on the back nine.

“The golf course is staying soft, so you can be a bit more aggressive, but the pins were a little bit more tucked today. At the same time, I had to be patient. I felt myself trying to push a little bit and then on seven, I hit it left and I said to myself to just hit it to my spaces and the birdies will come and that’s what I did on the back nine.”

Argentinian Magdalena Simmermacher, and European trio of Ana Pelaez, Nastasia Nadaud and Romy Meekers are in a four-way tie for third at eight-under, the quartet three behind Noja and trailing Buhai by seven.


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