Ashleigh Buhai shoots eight birdies to take big lead in last round of Women’s Open

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Looking at her record in majors, some might write Buhai off as something of a travel woman — her best finish came at the same event in Woburn three years ago when she finished in fifth place. She’s never had a top-10 in the other four women’s majors. Despite having an LPGA card since 2014, she has never won on the Tour, although she has won three times on the Ladies’ European Tour.

But underneath is a fascinating story, and she is known for her smoothest and most rhythmic swing on the LPGA. She was something of a child prodigy growing up in Johannesburg, dominating the amateur ranks before turning professional on her 18th birthday.

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A unique aspect of Buhai’s story is that her husband David – whom she met as a teenager at a golf academy – was a talented young golfer and became her caddy. He even proposed to her after the 2015 Dubai Ladies Classic. However, when the couple tied the knot in 2016, David went caddies before others.

Given the relatively historically low earnings in the women’s game, it also made financial sense for the couple to break up professionally. David is in the bag this week for South Korean Jeongeun Lee6, the 2019 Women’s US Open champion, many of whom had predicted he would be closer to the top of the standings.

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And if Buhai kept her from never claiming this first major, she’d make $1,095 million (£829,100) — that’s nearly five times her earnings last year. Considering Els raised a check for £700,000 – if there has been inflation over the past two decades – it would be a truly historic victory over this most groundbreaking victory.

Meanwhile, it was a disappointing championship for the British challenge, with Charley Hull and Mel Reid the highest ranked with both tied for 15th place at three under. Louise Duncan dropped to a tie for 41st place after a round of three over on Saturday, leaving her plus one for the tournament.

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