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Ken Borland

Buhai’s triumph a popular one for one of the most-liked families on tour 0

Posted on September 19, 2022 by Ken

As South Africans enjoyed Women’s Day on Tuesday, the country’s golfing fraternity were still celebrating Ashleigh Buhai’s phenomenal Major triumph in the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield. The Buhais are apparently one of the more well-liked families on the LPGA Tour and the victory, on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff, was a most popular one.

Ashleigh did it the hard way, too. Having dominated the middle section of the tournament with rounds of 65 and 64 on the second and third days, the 33-year-old Buhai had to rebound from giving away a five-shot lead with a triple-bogey on the 15th hole.

A brilliant bunker shot eventually won her the playoff over tenacious three-time Major champion Chun Ingee, Buhai joining Gary Player and Ernie Els as South Africans who have won Majors at Muirfield. Both were famous for their determination and bunker play, and Buhai is fit to join them as one of the country’s golfing elite.

Sally Little is the only other South African to win a women’s Major (1980, 1988) and Buhai’s triumph is the first at that level since Els claimed the Open crown at Royal Lytham and St Annes in 2012.

When she was still Ashleigh Simon, before she married husband David Buhai, who became a celebrity in his own right at Muirfield, dashing across the 18th green to embrace his wife, the Johannesburg-born golfer was considered a prodigy when she won the SA Amateur aged 14, the youngest to do so. She then won the SA Open three times in a row, which had not been done in more than a century, before winning her third event on the Ladies European Tour, the Catalonia Masters in 2007.

But it has been tough going for her since she crossed over to the LPGA Tour in 2014. The AIG Women’s Open was her first win on that tour in her 221st start.

From almost looking like she was destined to become a forgotten talent, like one of those antiques that was so admired but now gathers dust on the mantelpiece, Buhai says she is now playing the best golf of her career.

Hopefully winning the Major title many people predicted for her, will free her up to now go from strength-to-strength and be a major force in the women’s game. At 33, she can certainly look forward to peak years ahead of her.

Superb weekend displays prove SA golf not going to the dogs 0

Posted on September 22, 2020 by Ken

A South African may not have won a Major title since Ernie Els triumphed at the Open in 2012, but any suggestion our golf is going to the dogs has been refuted by the superb displays of our golfers around the world over the weekend.

Between them, South Africa’s four top performing golfers over the weekend – Louis Oosthuizen, Garrick Higgo, Ashleigh Buhai and Els himself – took home nearly R23 million in prizemoney. And that excludes the cash raked in by the top-five finishes of both George Coetzee and Retief Goosen.

The Major event of the weekend was the U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club outside New York and the powerful Bryson de Chambeau unleashed his dogs of war in the final round, in which he was the only golfer to shoot under-par, to win by a massive six strokes.

Oosthuizen, who was four off the pace at the start of the round, was soon out of real contention for the title as De Chambeau began dismembering the course on his way to a 67, and his challenge ran out of steam with a three-over 73 on the final day. Nevertheless it was good enough for the 2010 Open champion to finish alone in third, two behind second-placed Matthew Wolff.

Oosthuizen took home more than R14.2 million for his efforts and he now has six top-three finishes in the Majors, including being runner-up at least once in all of them.

The PGA Tour Champions is a lucrative way for professional golfers who have turned 50 and qualified for the seniors tour to bulk up their medical aid and Els took home more than R2.6 million at the weekend when he finished third in the Pure Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach.

Unfortunately Els, who was the leader going into the final round, suffered another of his putting breakdowns as he missed a two-foot putt for par on the last that would have secured him a place in the playoff with eventual winner Jim Furyk and Jerry Kelly.

Goosen finished in fourth place, two shots adrift of Els.

Buhai (nee’ Simon) did get into a playoff in her event on the LPGA Tour, shooting a brilliant seven-under-par 65 in the final round to join Major winner Georgia Hall in the showdown for the Cambria Portland Classic title at Columbia Edgewater.

Unfortunately, Buhai’s putter, which had come to her aid numerous times earlier in the day, let her down on the second extra hole as she missed a par putt to deny her her maiden LPGA title.

The good news though for the three-time SA Open winner is that she has earned herself a place in the U.S. Open in December and she won nearly R2.7 million.

There was at least one South African winner at the weekend though and that was young rising star Garrick Higgo, who claimed his maiden European Tour title by winning the Portugal Open at Royal Obidos. In just his seventh start on the tour, a marvellous seven-under-par 65 drove the 21-year-old left-hander to the victory, Higgo beating Spaniard Pep Angles by one stroke.

Higgo was superb with the Driver all weekend, and he did not make a bogey in his last 26 holes, dropping just three shots all tournament.

While Higgo took home a little more than R3 million for his life-changing win, Coetzee continued to capitalise on his fine form by finishing in a tie for third, four shots back.

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    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.


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