South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai savoured a “life-changing” achievement after defeating three-time main winner In Gee Chun in a play-off to win the AIG Ladies’s Open.
With the sunshine fading quick at Muirfield, Buhai tapped in for par on the fourth additional gap at 9:10pm to seal a nerve-wracking victory, having twice surrendered seemingly commanding leads with a closing 75.
5 photographs clear heading into the ultimate spherical, Buhai was nonetheless three forward with 4 holes to play, solely to run up a triple-bogey seven on the fifteenth after discovering sand off the tee and forking out sideways into heavy tough.
That dropped the 33-year-old right into a tie for the lead with Chun, the South Korean then finishing a closing 70 within the group forward to set the clubhouse goal on 10 underneath.
After her birdie putt on the par-five seventeenth caught the sting of the opening and stayed out, Buhai needed to gap from 4 ft on the final to drive a play-off after charging her lengthy birdie try previous the opening.
The gamers returned to the 18th for additional holes and Chun brilliantly saved par from a greenside bunker to maintain her hopes alive, with Buhai two-putting from lengthy vary.
Each gamers missed the inexperienced on the second additional gap and hit poor third photographs earlier than Chun inexplicably charged her par putt eight ft previous the opening, however the 27-year-old recovered her composure to salvage a bogey after Buhai’s lengthy par try got here up brief.
Regardless of the fading mild and dropping temperature, Chun and Buhai each hit excellent photographs into the inexperienced on the third additional gap, however neither was capable of convert.
It was debatable whether or not a fifth additional gap would have been potential if required, however Buhai lastly settled the result in type with an excellent greenside bunker shot establishing a tap-in par which Chun – who had discovered sand off the tee – was unable to match.
“I’m so pleased with myself, how I dug deep to get into the play-off,” stated Buhai, who joins compatriots Gary Participant (1959) and Ernie Els (2002) in profitable a serious title at Muirfield.
“It’s so tough to place into phrases proper now. It would solely hit me in just a few days however clearly I’m very proud.
“We’re a really small nation so to have the ability to produce fairly just a few main champions it’s fairly one thing, and now for me to be a feminine South African main winner I’ve received no phrases – it’s life-changing.”
Former champion Hinako Shibuno completed a shot exterior the play-off after a last spherical of 71, with Eire’s Leona Maguire two strokes additional again in a tie for fourth alongside Madelene Sagstrom and Minjee Lee.
Maguire, who secured her greatest end so far in a serious due to an eagle and three birdies in a flawless closing 66, stated: “(I’m) actually happy.
“I don’t suppose I may have performed a lot better in the present day. Had just a few probabilities coming in, would have been good to gap a pair extra putts, however it was powerful on the market and undoubtedly my greatest golf of the week to this point.
“Any time you shoot bogey-free underneath par within the final spherical of a serious you’re blissful so it’s good momentum heading into subsequent week (the ISPS Handa World Invitational in Northern Eire).”
A closing 69 gave Scotland’s Louise Duncan a share of nineteenth place and her first cheque as an expert, 12 months after she was unable to assert prize cash of £80,000 for ending tied tenth as an beginner at Carnoustie.