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Career day, big lead little comfort as Ashleigh Buhai eyes first major at Muirfield

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Inby Park didn’t hesitate to praise AIG Women’s Open leader Ashley Buhai, who took control of this historic championship on Saturday with Park and leads by five shots in Sunday’s final round at Muirfield.

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“She was flawless,” said Park, who knows what it takes to win a major via links; she did it at Turnberry in 2015.

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That same year, Park shot 7 fewer shots on the last day, trailing top runner-up Jin Yong Ko with three shots. This was the round in which Park compared the one that Buhai posted on Saturday.

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Buhai, a 33-year-old South African who only owned a top 10 (fifth at the 2019 Women’s Open) as well as 20 misses in 42 previous big starts, produced a 7th under 64 that was limited to par-booze. 4 18th hole. Prior to this, Buhai had hit eight birdies in windy Scottish conditions (wind speed around 20 mph, gusts around 30), including five on her first seven holes and a par-5 17

“To be able to score that kind of score in those conditions, you have to be able to pat yourself on the back,” Buhai said. “… It was probably one of the best rounds of golf I have ever played.”

No kidding.

“I wish I could play the golf course she played today,” joked Madeleine Sagstrom, seven shots behind. “No, a phenomenal round of golf. I well don’t see the 7 under there today. Great job for her and I think the rest of us are just hoping to find that peak momentum.”

Park added, “She played perfectly today. I don’t remember her making any mistakes today, and even if she did, she ended up with a bird like 17. That’s the round you need to be a champion.”

Full AIG Women’s Open results

Park, however, wasn’t quite willing to give up for her and her fellow competitors – Hinako Shibuno and In Ji Chung, with four big wins for two, tied for second with 9 under, while Park, a seven-time Major champion, tied for fourth with Sagstrom at 7 below.

It’s a great experience to be chasing a player who has only finished in the top 25 five times in 42 big games. (Drink also owns three LET wins, but none in the LPGA.)

“She’s got a huge advantage, but like I said, it’s a golf course with the wind blowing in the back nine, like this (Sunday forecast promises the same wind), you just don’t know what’s going to happen,” Park said. “And it’s very easy to lose three or four shots there. So yes, just never give up and just try to take advantage of some opportunities. You just need to play some good golf like Ashley did today.

Boohai also downplayed her imposing pillow.

“I don’t think you can ever feel comfortable in a major, whether you’re coming from behind or leading,” Buhai said. “It’s going to be another tough day. The wind will blow, that’s good. I prefer it this way. But they say big moves are often more difficult, and I think because you might be trying to play defensively. But I think I will continue to do what I do and stick to these steps.”

If Buhai does what she did on Saturday, no one will catch her.


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