MERFIELD, Scotland. Ashley Buhai took a five-shot lead at the Women’s Open after hitting 7 under 64 in the third round on Saturday.
Now she just needs to find a way to finish him off for her first big win.
The South African also topped that tournament in 2019 at Woburn after the second round but finished fifth, her best ever finish in a major.
Buhai is in a much stronger position at Muirfield after a round that had eight birdies in front of a lone scarecrow on the last hole, giving her a 14th under 199.
Full AIG Women’s Open results
Five of these birds came on the first seven holes, but perhaps the most impressive was on par 5 on 17, when she threw a skin after a tee hit in the rough.
It was the best round of the week, despite the fact that the wind picked up and blew harder than on the first two days.
“To get that kind of score in these conditions, you have to be able to pat yourself on the back, so much so that I thought I was 6 short, not 7,” Buhai said. “So I was 8 years old when I played the last time and I think I should look back, this is probably one of the best rounds of golf I have ever played.”
Hinako Shibuno of Japan (66) and second round leader In Ji-chun of South Korea (70) tied for second place. Seven-time major tournament winner Inby Park and Sweden’s Madeleine Sagström are two points behind.
Buhai has three wins on the Women’s European Tour, but has never won an LPGA tournament. She also never had a five-fold advantage going into the final round.
However, she tries her best not to look too far ahead.
“I am most proud of how I stayed focused and calm (today). It’s all I’m trying to control. I didn’t think about the result,” Buhai said. “The first time I saw the leaderboard, I think, was when I was 12, no, 13. And then I just said to myself, ‘OK, it’s okay, you’re in a good place. Test yourself now and focus on what you are trying to do.”