2nd August 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Buhai bursts clear at AIG British Women’s Open
2 August 2019 – South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai moved into a three-shot lead at the halfway point of the AIG Women’s British Open on Friday.
The Sunshine Ladies Tour champion backed up a leading seven-under-65 on day one with a flawless five-under-par round of 67, leaving her an impressive 12-under for the tournament at the Marquess’ Course at Woburn Golf and Country Club.
Buhai will go out in the final pairing with Hinako Shibuno from Japan on Saturday, who carded a 69 to finish in second. American Lizette Salas a further shot behind.
With Buhai playing in the afternoon field, Shibuno made an early move to set the club-house target at eight under.
An early birdie drew Buhai level with Shibuno, but after eight pars on the back nine, the Japanese holed a big putt at the 16th to get back in front:
Buhai was not daunted and saved her best for the final nine holes.
A birdie at the 11th put her back on terms with Shibuno and from there, she kicked on and made the most of the ideal conditions late in the day. On 13, Buhai made an excellent putt from off the fringe of the green, starting a run of three birdies in four holes.
“My goal going out today was to get to double figures,” said the three-time Ladies European Tour winner. “Once I got it to eight…nine…10-under, I felt more comfortable and was able to put my foot down.
“I managed to hit it really close on the 15th hole to like a tap-in birdie, and had a good shot into 16, tucked pin and then holed the putt. I was really steady on the front nine. I didn’t hit many shots close. I birdied my second hole with a good wedge, and hit a few good putts. I
“I’m trying not to keep thinking it’s a Major; it’s just another tournament. I’m really enjoying the way the golf course is playing. I think it helps that the conditions have just been so good and we haven’t had to deal with too many elements.”
The South African has put daylight between herself and her rivals and if she performs to the same standards over the weekend, it’s tough to see how anyone will stop Buhai from clinching her maiden major title.
However, there are a number of quality players within striking distance. .
Local favourite Charley Hull, targeting victory at her home course, tied for fourth, five shots back alongside world number two Sung-hyun Park from South Korea, Frenchwoman Celine Boutier, Bronte Law from England, Germany’s Caroline Masson.
Ko Jin-young from South Korea – winner of the last week’s Evian Championship and ANA Inspiration champion – is targeting her third major title this year. The world number one is on six-under and just five off the pace alongside defending champion Georgia Hall, among others.
1st August 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Buhai takes early command at Woburn
1 August 2019 – Ashleigh Buhai took the first-round lead at the AIG Women’s British Open on Thursday, seeking to become the second South African female Major winner, while South Korea’s Ko Jin-young started well in a quest to win back-to-back Majors.
Buhai’s best previous British Open finish was a tie for 30th in 2017 and she found herself in uncharted territory after notching eight birdies in a seven-under-par 65 at Woburn in Milton Keynes.
She may not have won on the LPGA Tour yet, but Buhai owns three Ladies European Tour titles and 11 victories on the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the experience showed as she recovered from her only bogey on the par-5 11th with consecutive birdies on holes 14, 15 and 16.
She headed American Danielle Kang and Japan’s Shibuno Hinako by one stroke, while local favourite Charley Hull was among a group two behind.
Four days after winning the Evian Championship in France, Ko continued her sizzling form with an eventful 68, while English defending champion Georgia Hall shot 69.
Buhai enjoyed a day when everything clicked and perhaps allowed her to dream of compatriot Sally Little as a major champion. Little won the 1980 Women’s PGA Championship and the 1988 du Maurier Classic.
“I’m feeling really confident with the putter and it’s been good the last few weeks,” said the 30-year-old Buhai. “Today I managed to hit a few more greens and rolled in the putts.
“In my last few tournaments, I’ve had three good rounds and one not so good round, so I’m hoping this is the week I can do four good rounds,” said Buhai, whose best finish this year was a tie for 11th. “The last few weeks, I have been just trying to stay mellow and keep everything in check, and it seems to be helping.”
Ko is seeking her third major title of the year after the Evian and ANA Inspiration in California in April.
It was not always such smooth sailing on the greens for the South Korean, who had a four-putt double-bogey at the 14th hole, where she missed a couple of three-footers.
That setback might have demoralised some players, but the world number one is made of sterner stuff.
She bounced back by hitting the cup with her approach shots at the par-five 15th and par-four 18th for what would have been a couple of most unlikely eagles.
Though neither fell in, she converted the birdie putts.
“The back nine was a lot of putts missed,” said Ko. “I tried to finish strong and I got a birdie on 18. It was a huge birdie.”
17th February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Sunshine Ladies Tour hat-trick delight for Dlamini
17 February 2019 – She had the line. She had the pace. And she nailed the distance.
On a tense and dramatic Sunday at Fancourt, Nobuhle Dlamini drained a 32 foot uphill birdie putt at the final hole of the Outeniqua Course to seal a Sunshine Ladies Tour hat-trick with a two-shot victory in the Dimension Data Challenge.
Just a few minutes earlier, the big-hitting Swazi golfer tapped in for well-timed four at the par five 17th to take a one-shot lead. The birdie-birdie finish for a five-under-par 67 earned Dlamini a R70 000 pay-day on a winning total of two-under 214.
“I had to really stop myself from running around on the green when that last putt dropped,” said the delighted Dlamini, who banked an additional R30K for partnering amateur Francis Tremearne to victory in the Betterball Team Competition.
“I was so excited, but Brittney (Fay-Berger) still had to putt. I played the 17th hole exactly as I planned and I wanted to get the birdie at 18 to have a bit of a cushion. Britt and I both hit good tee shots up the 18th fairway, but her approach took a huge bounce off the back.
“You don’t want to hit it past the flag and leave yourself a slippery and fast downhill putt, so I told my caddie I’m going to hit it seven foot short. It came up a lot shorter, but it was the right call. I had a one-shot lead. At worst, I’d be in a play-off. The moment I stroked the ball it looked good.”
Dlamini posted rounds of 76 and 71 over the first two days at George Golf Club and was four shots behind joint leaders Monique Smit and Bertine Faber when the action moved to Fancourt.
Smit gave the local crowd reason to cheer with a birdie start, Faber matched her birdie with one of her own at the second and Dlamini kept pace with her first birdie at the second.
While Smit and Faber slowly faded out of contention, Kim Williams made a run for the lead with birdies at two, seven and 10. The three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner led the field on three-under for most of the day, but Dlamini put the field Williams on notice with a run of birdies from seven.
“I just holed a bunch of really good putts,” said the 27-year-old Dlamini
“I missed very few fairways and I hit my irons and wedges really good. I bogeyed 11 but I birdied 14 to stay within two shots of Kim. As I walked to the 17th tee, I saw Kim was in trouble and I figured she might drop a shot at shot.
“I hit three-wood down the middle, but I just missed the green with my approach. I chipped it give, though and that gave me a one shot lead after Kim made a double at 16.”
Dlamini had a short, but tense wait to know for certain. “Ivanna (Samu) or Lejan (Lethwaite) were level par and if one of them made an eagle, it would be a play-off,” Dlamini said. “It was a bit tense, because everyone was coming to congratulate me, but I don’t count my chickens before they hatch.
I never count my chickens before they hatch. Only after they finished on level-par, I let that winning feeling flow over me.”
Dlamini battled with a knee injury at the start of the sixth Sunshine Ladies Tour season and posted an unmemorable top 20 finish in the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open, but the form that took her to winner’s circle twice last year showed up during Serengeti Team Championship.
“I saw a physiotherapist after Irene and I was back to full strength and was striking the ball really well at Serengeti. I felt I was playing well enough to win, and after the three birdies on the front, I knew I could win if I kept patient and stuck to the game plan.
“This is one of my absolutely favourite events and I look forward coming to Fancourt every year. I am extremely proud to join the list of Dimension Data winners. I only got into the one Ladies European Tour event and I decided to stay in South Africa. Next week I’m going trophy hunting in the SA Women’s Masters and I can’t wait to defend my SuperSport Ladies Challenge title the Wild Coast in two weeks.”
Samu and Lewthwaite both closed with rounds of 69 to tie for second.
Williams carded a 73 with a double bogey finish and tied for fourth on two-over with GolfRSA Elite Squad amateur Kajal Mistry, who also registered a 73.
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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.