Ashleigh Buhai closes in on Women’s Open title after taking five-shot lead | Women’s Open

Simply when a glimmer of hope had been offered to the sector, Ashleigh Buhai slammed the door shut in the fashion of a champion.

Buhai’s third shot to Muirfield’s par-five seventeenth had sailed lengthy of the inexperienced. She had a dicey chip remaining. Not content material to trickle her ball in direction of the opening and save par, the South African holed out for a birdie 4. Her lead had been prolonged to 6 pictures.

Solely parts of the previous are towards Buhai in this Women’s Open. She has only one prime 10 in 42 earlier main begins, that coming in this very occasion in 2019. Buhai led by three on the midway level of that match. But since this occasion was elevated to main standing, 9 gamers have held a 54-hole lead of three strokes or extra. All have prevailed on Sunday. A dropped shot on the final means Buhai’s benefit was lower to 5 – she sits at 14 below par – however she has one hand and 4 fingers on the trophy. “You have to pat yourself on the back after that score in those conditions,” she stated. “That is one of the best rounds I have ever played.

“You can never be comfortable in a major, whether you are leading or not. They say big leads are often more difficult. I’ve just got to keep doing what I’ve been doing.” Buhai revealed she was despatched a message of encouragement by Gary Participant, her compatriot who gained the 1959 Open at Muirfield.

The unhappy factor was, treasured few individuals had been round to see Buhai and co end their rounds. Galleries had been distressingly sparse as play rumbled in direction of conclusion; the consequence, maybe, of tee-off occasions after three o’clock in the afternoon for the leaders. This represented a foul search for a match which has been elevated in standing by the R&A.

Buhai’s third spherical of 64 was with out a bogey till she left a putt brief on the ultimate inexperienced. She reached the flip in simply 31, having collected 4 pictures in a row from the 4th. Hinako Shibuno, who shot 66, and Chun In-gee, who made a 70, are joint second. Inbee Park, looking for an eighth main win, is alongside Madelene Sagström at seven below.

Minjee Lee, the US Open champion, lurks at minus 5 after a 70. “I think with the position I’m in and considering how many shots back I am, I can be aggressive,” Lee stated. “I think I can just try and make birdie every single hole. I think that’s pretty much what I can do, if I can go for the pin. I think with Ash, probably she has contended a few times but it’s the British Open and the final group, so I’m sure she’ll have a few nerves.”

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In every week of Muirfield firsts, there was one other at first of day three’s play. Lindsey Backyard, a feminine member at a course as soon as infamously an all-male area, performed alongside Lydia Corridor due to an odd variety of gamers having made the lower. Backyard, who holds a 1.6 handicap and is a former Scotland worldwide, admitted to being “very nervous” on the opening tee.

“It’s fantastic,” she added of her membership on the Honourable Firm of Edinburgh Golfers. “I’ve been a member a year. It’s just been a great year because since I’ve been a member, we have known we are hosting the Women’s Open. There has been lots of prep for that. There’s been some really fun stuff around that, Media days and some interviews with various Media people talking about what is it like to be a woman member at Muirfield, it’s the same as it is for a man. We’re equal.” Modified days certainly.

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