Buhai cruises to fourth South African Women’s Open title

Mark McGowan

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

Mark McGowan

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Ashleigh Buhai fired a four-under final round of 68 to win the 2023 Investec South African Women’s Open at Steenberg Golf Club.

The South African superstar had held a four-shot lead through 36 holes and maintained that advantage on the final day.

Buhai rolled in six birdies and two bogeys on the fourth day of competition to seal her fifth LET title with a score of 22-under-par and win this tournament for the fourth time.

“I’m over the world right now,” said the Major champion. “I’m ecstatic to have got the job done. My goal was to come in here and win this week. I tried to play it down because it’s a lot of pressure and I knew it was going to be difficult. Now, I’ve got it done and over the line I’m really happy.

“It’s always important for me to try and play the Investec SA Women’s Open when I can, unfortunately the scheduling didn’t work out in the last few years with it moving due to Covid but I’m happy even though it was at the end of a four-week run. I was a little tired at the beginning of the week but obviously, now I’m thrilled I was able to come back and play it.

“With what I’m doing at the moment between my golf swing and the mental side, I just need to stick it. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel and hopefully, I can keep up this consistency, that’s what my main goal is to become more consistent and give myself a chance every now and then to win a golf tournament.”

The reigning AIG Women’s Open champion began her day with a birdie on the first and then made three birdies on the trot between holes four and six, before adding another on the ninth.

It was a tougher back nine for Buhai with bogeys on 15 and 17, but she finished in style with a birdie on 18 to win her home tournament for the first time since 2018.

She explained: “It was great to start off with a birdie especially after yesterday when I made a bogey. I hit a good putt on two and three, birdied four and five. I just kept it going.

“On the back nine, I felt I hit good shots, I was just in between yardages and the wind got a little bit trickier. Luckily, I had that big lead, so I could just hit it to the space on the green and take my two putts and they had to come chasing. I did what I had to do to get the job done.

“I’m very proud of myself with how I battled through and also Dave keeping me in it especially yesterday, trying not to exert energy. Today my energy was back and it showed with the way I came out and I did really commit to hitting those golf shots.

“I’m sure there will be a celebratory brie tonight! We’ve got a few family and friends here so it’s going to be nice to be able to share it with them.”

Spain’s Ana Pelaez Trivino finished runner-up for the second week in succession having been edged out by England’s Lily May Humphreys at the Jo-burg Ladies Open a week previous, and she finished four strokes behind Buhia, with German teen Chiara Noja a stroke further back in solo third.


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