Buhai bursts into mix on LPGA Tour

Ashleigh Buhai

South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai racked up eight birdies in second round to rocket into the top five at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic and she will start Saturday’s third round within four shots of leader Katherine Kirk from Australia.

The recent good run of form started in June when Buhai won her regional qualifier to book a spot in the field for the upcoming US Women’s Open and followed up with a career best result – a tie for 36th – in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship last week.

The reigning Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies champion opened with a 69, but a six-under-par 66 put Buhai in a strong position to challenge for her first top 10 finish this season.

Buhai, who shares fourth with Pavarisa Yoktuan, Moriya Jutanugarn and Ilhee Lee, said she is just really feeling good about her game and it’s showing in her scores.

“I hit a lot of good shots, and the greens were very pure this morning, so I felt I read the greens pretty good and picked the line and managed to roll a few in,” she said.

Her round included a stretch of three birdies in a row from 13 to 15.

“Thirteen was a par-five and I hit the green in two and had a good two-putt,” said Buhai. “At 14, I hit a great drive and hit a gap wedge in to about 10 feet and holed the putt. The 15th, a tough par-five, was playing right into the wind. I hit gap wedge to about eight feet and holed the putt. Three good shots coming into those greens.”
Buhai switched to Srixon at the start of the season after her long-time sponsor Nike discontinued its equipment range. Hard work on getting comfortable with the new sticks is starting to pay off.

“I’m feeling good and I feel I can trust my game at the moment,” she said. “You’ve got to drive it well around here, but it’s not playing very long, so it’s more a kind of putting competition. That’s why you’re seeing such low scores out there. I’m just really making some putts that I haven’t made the last few weeks that has been the difference overall.

“In the first round there was no wind for the morning and afternoon, but on Friday it was blowing from the first hole. You know, it was a little tricky out there. I think from our practice rounds, we knew it was going to be a low-scoring tournament, and there’s a lot of birdies to be made out there. You’ve got to just keep your foot in the gas out here.”

PHOTO – Ashleigh Buhai; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

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