Different Strokes: Honest Buhai climbs to Major heights

South African had to work hard on her mental game to finally deliver on her potential at AIG Women’s British Open

You’ve got to hand it to Ashleigh Buhai who, apart from the fortitude shown in overcoming In Gee Chun after four holes of a sudden-death playoff to lift the AIG Women’s Open and become a historic first winner of the championship at Muirfield, also showed great honesty in her champion’s interview afterwards.

Buhai revealed she had started working with sports psychologist Duncan McCarthy back in February.

“If you’d told me [then] that I would be sitting here, I would never have believed you with the mental state I was in to be honest,” said the 33-year-old South African who finally found the promised land after a career that moved from the South African to LET to LPGA circuits after turning pro as a teenager.

“He’s given me the tools, we say, to stay in the moment, and all I can control, and stay away from outcome. We get so lost in what can happen, it’s easy to drift and you’re going to go there, but as long as you bring yourself back, it’s fine,” explained Buhai of the new thought process that garnered a life-changing result.

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She added: “It’s been a long journey. There was a lot of things expected of me. I won straight off the bat on the Ladies European Tour. But this game has a way of giving you a hard time. I’m just so proud of how I’ve stuck it out . . . it’s been a long journey, but man, it’s all worth it right now!”

Chamblee set to tee it up at Rosapenna

Brandel Chamblee will swap the microphone for his golf clubs for a rare competitive outing, when the recently turned 60-year-old American broadcaster tees it up in the Irish Legends tournament hosted by Paul McGinley at Rosapenna on August 16th-20th.

McGinley has become good friends with Chamblee since he started working with the former PGA Tour player on the Golf Channel stateside.

Apart from hosting the tournament on the Old Tom Morris Links, McGinley will also be playing in a tournament that, apart form Chamblee’s X-factor, also features 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie and Ryder Cup players Phillip Price and Thomas Levet.

Tickets are available for sale at tickets.legendstour.com for the tournament, with daily and season entry tickets on sale.

By the Numbers: 5/54

All five women’s Major champions this year either held or shared the 54-hole lead, the first season it has happened in the women’s game since 1998: Jennifer Kupcho (Chevron), Minjee Lee (US Open), In Gee Chun (KPMG WPGA), Brooke Henderson (Evian) and Ashleigh Buhai (AIG Open). Lee earned the Rolex Annika Major Award given to the player to have the most consistent record across all five Majors in 2022.

Word of Mouth

“He’s an incredible friend. I love him to death, and I told him I had to do what’s best for me . . .” – Will Zalatoris on taking the decision, midway through the Wyndham Championship, to split from caddie Ryan Goble who had been his bagman since turning pro three years ago.

Twitter Twaddle

– Pádraig Harrington, who finished in tied-third and remained in second in the Charles Schwab Cup money list. Both Harrington and Darren Clarke are in the field for this week’s Boeing Classic at Snoqualmie Ridge in Washington state.

– New Europe Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald feeling all our pain.

– Tommy Fleetwood appearing to indicate he won’t be playing in the FedEx St Jude Classic, deciding to take time away after a recent family bereavement.

On this day: August 9th, 1981

Larry Nelson played the way Larry Nelson usually played, in mainly finding fairways and then hitting greens in regulation – with just the odd blip – as he claimed his first of three career Major titles in winning the US PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club.

In his home state, the Georgian carried a four-stroke lead into the final round and, after a closing 71 for 273, remained that same margin ahead of his nearest challenger Fuzzy Zoeller.

The only scare for Nelson in his route to the title came with a rare wayward drive into pine trees on the dogleg 14th hole. It was the only fairway he missed all day but it brought potential catastrophe as his ball nestled amid the trees.

One option was to chip back towards the fairway but Nelson believed his lie was too poor and so he attempted to loft his ball over the pines to the green but miscalculated the height of the trees. His ball hit a limb and came down, leaving him with an even tougher shot. For his third, he bravely threaded the ball through trees six feet apart and eight feet in front and managed to find the green, and then two-putted for a bogey that limited the damage and parred the remaining four holes to close out.

In the Bag: Joohyung “Tom” Kim (Wyndham Championship)

Driver: Titleist TSR3 (9 degrees)

3-wood: Titleist TSR3 (13.5 degrees)

Irons: Titleist T200 (2&3), Titleist T100 (4-9)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (46, 52 and 60 degrees)

Putter: Scotty Cameron for Titleist TourType Timeless GSS prototype

Ball: Titleist ProV1x

Know the Rules

Q

On reaching a contoured green, Player A goes to his bag and takes out a half-filled bottle of water which he proceeds to place on the putting surface in an effort to gauge the severity of the slope. Is this permitted?

A

No. Rule 4.3a (1)/1 – Restrictions on using equipment to gauge slope – covers such a situation. Although a player may use his or her club as a plumb line to assist in judging or gauging slope and contours, there is other equipment that a player may not use: for example, a player is not allowed to gauge slope by, placing a drinks bottle to act as a level; holding or placing a bubble level; or using a weight suspended on a string as a plumb line.