Ashleigh Buhai of South Africa overcame a catastrophic 15th hole to beat Chun In-gee in a drawn-out play-off for the Women’s British Open at Muirfield on Sunday. After 72 holes, both men were equal on 10 under par.
In nearly complete darkness, Buhai finally won the season’s final major by making a par at the fourth extra hole, the 18th. While Buhai emerged from a greenside bunker and holed out from two feet to win, Chun bunkered her drive and took five.
As her husband David went onto the green and gave her a kiss and a tender hug, she was on the verge of tears. The 33-year-old, who won the first of three South African Amateur titles when she was just 14 years old, said, “It’s been a lot of hard effort over many years.”
Despite having three victories in Europe and two South African Opens, her professional career has never quite reached the same heights. She had yet to win an LPGA championship, though, making this one particularly memorable.
She had to endure a triple-bogey seven at the 15th before clinching the thrilling play-off victory. She had been five ahead overnight. She continued, “I’m really proud of myself. “I had to delve further. I was, however, fairly composed during the play-off.
Just made an effort to remain present. My caddie (Tanya Paterson) instructed me to hit the bunker shot in the play-off and to “show them why you are ranked No. 1 in bunkers this year.” It was a terrific idea.
Buhai’s childhood hero, Ernie Els, won the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2002 and 1959, respectively.
Buhai continued, “I am really honored to join them as significant champions at Muirfield. It will truly change your life,” Chun showed grace in loss.
The three-time major champion, who also won the Women’s PGA Championship this year, said: “I never gave up, and I gave it my all.”