Buhai extends lead to three as home challenge takes shape at Woburn

Local favourite Charley Hull leads English trio in top 10 at Woburn

England’s Charley Hull tees off on the 12th hole during the second round of the   Women’s British Open at Woburn Golf Club in Milton Keynes. Photograph:  Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

England’s Charley Hull tees off on the 12th hole during the second round of the Women’s British Open at Woburn Golf Club in Milton Keynes. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images


Ashleigh Buhai extended her lead to three strokes after the second round at the Women’s British Open at Woburn on Friday.

The South African compiled a bogey-free five-under-par 67 to head a leaderboard that included players from seven countries in the top eight.

Buhai, without a top-25 finish in a Major, posted a 12-under 132 halfway total.

Japan’s Hinako Shibuno shot 69 for second place on nine-under, with American Lizette Salas (67) another shot back in third place.

Local favourite Charley Hull was tied for fourth on her home course, five shots behind.

Compatriot and defending champion Georgia Hall and last week’s Evian Championship major winner Ko Jin-young of South Korea were six back.

If Hall needed this tournament to kickstart a slow year, her contemporaries also remember the form that shone brightly 12 months ago.

Hall’s triumph at Royal Lytham & St Annes, the first in this Major by an English player since 2004, had a stark impact on Hull and Bronte Law. After Hull used day one to blast herself into contention at Woburn, Hall and Law joined the party in the second round. The prospect of a three-pronged home assault on the trophy over the weekend is a live one.

“We motivate each other by playing well,” said Hall after a 69. “We also want each other to do well. It’s great for English golf, really young players all doing well. The three of us were always in the England team, we’ve played alongside each other, so we’ve known each other for a long time.

“Charley and I in particular; I used to go round to her house, we’d play golf together, when we were 12 or 13. Bronte was living farther north so it was harder for her to join us but we’ve always been good friends.

“When we started out playing matches, we knew we had to be feisty players if we were to survive and I think you’re seeing that come out now. We each show it differently but we all dig deep for those par saves.”

Hall’s form leading into this defence did not suggest she would compete again. Instead, she has summoned the spirit of 2018. “Four rounds of golf is a very long time, especially mentally and this being kind of your home tournament,” she said. “But I’ve got that experience, and the pressure I dealt with very well last year, so hopefully tomorrow when I go on the tee, I won’t be that nervous.”

Law entered this event as the highest ranked British player in the world, at No 22. She has also won this season on the LPGA Tour. To her credit, the 24-year-old openly welcomed the prospect of strong attention over the closing 36 holes. Law’s Friday 67 continued a bogey-free tournament run and lifted her to minus seven.

“The more Brits at the top, the better,” Law said. “It just shows the strength of golf in the UK and hopefully it can increase the publicity in the UK of women’s golf. Obviously with where we are all ranked in the world, we deserve to get more publicity.

“Hopefully doing it on home soil, if you’re going to get the publicity, now is the time. The excuse wouldn’t be: ‘Oh, well, it’s in the States.’ We’re doing it here in front of a home crowd. So hopefully we can keep playing well and put on a show for the fans out here.”

A Solheim Cup quirk means Law cannot qualify automatically for the European team who will face the United States next month because of not playing the requisite number of events. She is, though, virtually certain to be handed one of four captain’s picks by Catriona Matthew.

The Scot played alongside Law over the opening two rounds here and was understandably impressed. “It’s like when you’re younger at school and you’re in front of the teacher so they can keep an eye on you,” said Law with a smile. She need not have worried.

“I haven’t played a lot with her but she’s been really consistent off the tee and a really good putter,” said Matthew. “And she’s a really good fighter, you can see that from her amateur matchplay record. In certain situations she seems to hole a putt at the right moment to keep it all together. She’s got the right personality too.

“You can sense she wants it [the pick]. There are a lot of them wanting a spot but, yes, she’s up for it. She produced, it’s very good to see. It’s looking great with the Brits up there on the leaderboard just now.” Celine Boutier, another on the Solheim chase, boosted her case with a 66 for a seven-under aggregate.

Lydia Ko, once the golden child of women’s golf, endured a disastrous time in Bedfordshire after adding an 80 to Thursday’s 76, but stood for 20 minutes signing autographs and chatting to children rather than stomping off, stage left. Maybe the golfing gods will look kindly upon her again soon. – Guardian and agencies

British unless stated, (a) denotes amateur, par 72:

132 Ashleigh Buhai (Rsa) 65 67

135 Hinako Shibuno (Jpn) 66 69

136 Lizette Salas (USA) 69 67

137 Caroline Masson (Ger) 69 68, Celine Boutier (Fra) 71 66, Charley Hull 67 70, Bronte Law 70 67, Sung Hyun Park (Kor) 67 70

138 Ariya Jutanugarn (Tha) 68 70, Georgia Hall 69 69, Carlota Ciganda (Esp) 69 69, Jin Young Ko (Kor) 68 70, Danielle Kang (USA) 66 72

139 Marina Alex (USA) 69 70, Nelly Korda (USA) 70 69, Minjee Lee (Aus) 71 68, Jeongeun Lee (Kor) 68 71

140 In-Kyung Kim (Kor) 69 71, Morgan Pressel (USA) 69 71, Olivia Cowan (Ger) 73 67, Pavarisa Yoktuan (Tha) 73 67, Brooke M. Henderson (Can) 69 71

141 (a) Atthaya Thitikul (Tha) 73 68, Jeong Eun Lee (Kor) 70 71, Lexi Thompson (USA) 71 70, Megan Khang (USA) 67 74, Hyo Joo Kim (Kor) 71 70, Anna Nordqvist (Swe) 71 70, Moriya Jutanugarn (Tha) 67 74, Jing Yan (Chn) 71 70

142 Nicole Broch Larsen (Den) 72 70, Jenny Shin (USA) 69 73, Caroline Hedwall (Swe) 74 68, Ally McDonald (USA) 72 70, Sarah Kemp (Aus) 72 70

143 Mirim Lee (Kor) 72 71, Sei Young Kim (Kor) 70 73, Brittany Lang (USA) 71 72, Yuka Yasuda (Jpn) 73 70, Jodi Ewart Shadoff 73 70, Xi Yu Lin (Chn) 74 69, Gerina Piller (USA) 71 72, Maria Torres (Pue) 72 71, Teresa Lu (Tai) 73 70, Sakura Yokomine (Jpn) 70 73, Yu Liu (Chn) 72 71, Annie Park (USA) 73 70

144 Jasmine Suwannapura (Tha) 72 72, Angel Yin (USA) 74 70, Azahara Munoz (Esp) 73 71, Brittany Altomare (USA) 73 71, Ayako Uehara (Jpn) 70 74, Su Oh (Aus) 72 72, Austin Ernst (USA) 76 68, Momoko Ueda (Jpn) 75 69, Jessica Korda (USA) 72 72, Minami Katsu (Jpn) 70 74, Anne Van Dam (Ned) 72 72, Hannah Green (Aus) 73 71, Cheyenne Knight (USA) 73 71, Karolin Lampert (Ger) 73 71, Linnea Strom (Swe) 70 74, Mi Jung Hur (Kor) 71 73

145 Mariajo Uribe (Col) 73 72, Felicity Johnson 76 69, Charlotte Thomas 72 73, In Gee Chun (Kor) 70 75, Annabel Dimmock 75 70, Kristen Gillman (USA) 71 74, Pornanong Phatlum (Tha) 73 72, Angela Stanford (USA) 73 72, Sarah Schmelzel (USA) 73 72

The following players missed the cut:

146 Agathe Sauzon (Fra) 69 77, Haeji Kang (Kor) 70 76, Lina Boqvist (Swe) 75 71, Karine Icher (Fra) 71 75, So Yeon Ryu (Kor) 73 73, Pajaree Anannarukarn (Tha) 76 70, Lynn Carlsson (Swe) 72 74, Gaby Lopez (Mex) 71 75, Katherine Kirk (Aus) 76 70, Shanshan Feng (Chn) 75 71

147 Lindy Duncan (USA) 70 77, Valentine Derrey (Fra) 72 75, Jacqui Concolino (USA) 74 73, Gabriella Cowley 71 76, Da Yeon Lee (Kor) 72 75, Jaye Marie Green (USA) 72 75

148 Chella Choi (Kor) 75 73, Karrie Webb (Aus) 75 73, Nuria Iturrios (Esp) 76 72, Emma Spitz (Aut) 76 72, Amy Yang (Kor) 73 75, Katja Pogacar (Slo) 73 75, Aia Suzuki (Jpn) 75 73, Paula Creamer (USA) 73 75, Alena Sharp (Can) 74 74, Daniela Darquea (Ecu) 75 73

149 Mamiko Higa (Jpn) 75 74, Catriona Matthew 73 76, Eun-Hee Ji (Kor) 74 75, Mi Hyang Lee (Kor) 76 73, Whitney Hillier (Aus) 71 78, Cydney Clanton (USA) 74 75, Amy Olson (USA) 73 76, Jennifer Song (USA) 75 74, Wei-Ling Hsu (Tai) 76 73, Christine Wolf (USA) 75 74

150 Emily Toy 76 74, Celine Herbin (Fra) 75 75, Meghan MacLaren 73 77, Hye Jin Choi (Kor) 73 77, Cristie Kerr (USA) 75 75, Inbee Park (Kor) 75 75, Noora Komulainen (Fin) 74 76, Jenny Haglund (Swe) 75 75

151 Nanna Koerstz Madsen (Den) 72 79, Tonje Daffinrud (Nor) 78 73, Madelene Sagstrom (Swe) 78 73, Marianne Skarpnord (Nor) 73 78, Jennifer Kupcho (USA) 77 74, Laura Fuenfstueck (Ger) 76 75, Lauren Stephenson (USA) 75 76

152 Beth Allen (USA) 76 76, Ryann O’Toole (USA) 77 75, Melissa Reid 77 75, Nasa Hataoka (Jpn) 76 76, Sandra Gal (Ger) 74 78, Maria Fassi (Mex) 76 76, Camilla Lennarth (Swe) 75 77, Mariah Stackhouse (USA) 77 75, Alice Hewson 75 77, Carly Booth 78 74

153 Frida Kinhult (Swe) 77 76, Tiffany Joh (USA) 79 74

154 Ingrid Lindblad (Swe) 74 80, Pernilla Lindberg (Swe) 78 76, Charlotte Thompson 77 77, Stacy Lewis (USA) 78 76

156 Kylie Henry 78 78, Esther Henseleit (Ger) 78 78, Diksha Dagar (Ind) 77 79, Lydia Ko (Nzl) 76 80

157 Laura Davies 82 75

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