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AIG Women’s Open: Ashleigh Buhai wins first major with play-off win over In Gee Chun


Ashley Buhay follows in the footsteps of fellow South Africans Gary Player and Ernie Els to achieve major glory at Muirfield
-10 bohai * (sa), chun (kur); -9 Shibuno (Japan); -7 Sagstrom (SUI), Lee (Australia), Maguire (AIR)
Others selection: -1 Ewart Chadoff, Duncan (Schoe); level Hall (Eng), Hal (Eng); +3 Reed (m); +5 Law (m)
* Indicates the winner after a four-hole playoff
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South Africa’s Ashley Buhai recovered from a five-shot lead to defeat South Korea’s N Ji Chun in a thrilling AIG Women’s Championship playoff for her first major win.

Buhai saved a fourth playoff hole after Chun’s foul to take victory at 21:10 BST at Muirfield.

The lead for the 33-year-old evaporated at the start of the day and she is four times as high as 15th.

This dropped her alongside three-time main winner Chun at -10.

The pair cannot be separated in the first three holes of the play-off, matching each other with equal, stealth, parity.

Buhai finally settled things with a fine shot up and down the bunker to form a bonus tap while Chun, finding a bunker off the tee, failed to match.

“It changes life.”

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

“I’m so proud of myself, how deep I went into the playoff,” said Buhai, who joined fellow countrymen Gary Player (1959) and Ernie Els (2002) in winning a major title at Muirfield.

“It’s hard to put into words right now. It might just shock me in a few days but I’m obviously very proud.

“We are a very small country, so to be able to produce quite a few major champions is fantastic, and now for me, to be a big winner in South Africa, I have no words – that would change my life.”

The 27-year-old added, “I never gave up and gave it my all. Ashley played a great vault shot and she deserved it. I’m so happy for her.”

Ashley Buhay is embraced by husband David

Tour story

Buhai, ranked 84th in the world, had earlier hit a four-over-75 and was three holes ahead to play before collapsing late.

Chun, who won the women’s PGA Championship in June, had tied for second overnight at nine sub-zero holes and started strong on three of the top nine.

But two ghosts on her back 9 saw her sign one below level 70.

Japan’s Hinako Shibuno, who also started the day at nine under, was a mixed tour that included a five-stick eagle. She was still in contention on the 18th in need of a birdie, but par saw her 71 to finish in ninth under third.

Maguire scores best major

Ireland’s Leona Maguire took part in today’s round with a 66 shot to finish fourth in seventh under Sweden’s Madeleine Sagstrom and Australia’s Minji Lee.

“I don’t think I could have played better today,” said Maguire, who secured her best result so far at a major tournament. “Had there been a few more chances coming, it would have been nice to dig a few more deposits, but it was tough there and definitely my best golf game.” per week so far.”

Britons Jodi Ewart Chadoff and Scotsman Louise Duncan were the best Britons tied for 19th on one under one, while England duo Charlie Hall and Georgia Hall finished on a par with fellow countryman Mel Reed with three more.



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