Ladies European Tour
Aug 8th, 2022
Ashleigh Buhai wins AIG Women’s Open
South African wins at fourth extra hole on a dramatic final day
The 33-year-old let slip a five-shot overnight lead with a closing four-over 75 – largely due to a triple bogey at the 15th – to finish level with Chun on a ten-under-par total of 274.
However, the South African held her nerve to finally win with a par at the fourth time of playing the par-4 18th to secure her biggest win.
Buhai, ranked 84th in the Rolex Women’s Golf Rankings with three previous Ladies’ European Tour wins to her name, denied Korea’s Chun, 27, a fourth major victory.
“I’m a little overwhelmed to be honest. I’m trying to take a breath, but it’s obviously fantastic to win this championship, the AIG Women's Open, it's a dream come true," said Buhai.
“I was fairly calm in the play-off. I just tried to focus on what I was doing. I couldn't control anything else but I knew it was going to be tough."
Japan’s Hinako Shibuno, the 2019 Champion at Woburn, secured third place thanks to a final round level-par 71 for a nine-under-par total.
Buhai joins famous past winners from South Africa to win at Muirfield after Ernie Els (2002) and Gary Player (1959) both won The Open over the renowned links.
The victor received USD1.095 million for her efforts after the overall prize fund was increased to USD7.3 million for this year’s Championship.
Ireland’s Leona Maguire (66), Minjee Lee from Australia (69) and Swede Madelene Sagstrom (71) tied for fourth spot on seven-under-par.
In an historic week for golf with Muirfield hosting the AIG Women’s Open for the first time, 33,303 fans enjoyed attending the Championship as Buhai triumphed.
American Rose Zhang, the number one ranked amateur in the world, won the Smyth Salver for leading amateur after finishing on one-over-par for her 72 holes following a closing 73.
In breezy conditions once more on the East Lothian coast, it proved a fascinating final round. After the opening nine holes, Buhai’s healthy overnight advantage had been cut to just one. Chun’s fine front nine, with birdies at the 2nd, 4th and 6th, saw her reach 12-under while Buhai dropped back to 13-under after a second bogey of the day at the par-5 9th.
Bogeys from Chun at the 10th and 12th allowed Buhai to regain control and a three-shot lead. However, after driving into the bunker on the par-4 15th, she then took two shots in the heavy rough leading to a triple-bogey seven to fall back level with Chun.
The pair parred the closing three holes to finish level at the top before Buhai’s play-off triumph, winning with a brilliant greenside bunker shot for a decisive par.
Maguire surged through the field to finish as the leading Great Britain and Ireland player after her closing five-under-par round of 66. Scotland’s Louise Duncan finished just inside the top-20 on one-under-par after a closing 69, the same mark as Jodi Ewart Shadoff from England.
Next year’s AIG Women’s Open will be played at Walton Heath, with St Andrews hosting the 2024 Championship and Royal Porthcawl in 2025.