Muirfield took 15 years of hard work and patience, as well as 76 holes of determination. Ashleigh Buhai of South Africa is now a major champion.
Buhai defeated three-time major champion In Gee Chun in a four-hole, sudden-death playoff to win the 2022 AIG Women's Open, becoming the first woman to have her name etched on the trophy at Muirfield.
In Gee is a major champion, therefore I had to win. It was going to be a grind since 18 played so hard all week, and then it got chilly and windy, said Buhai, 33, from Johannesburg. "I'm proud of how I stayed focused and did what I needed to do."
Buhai became South Africa's second major winner, joining Sally Little (1980 KPMG Women's PGA Championship, 1988 du Maurier Classic). She joined Gary Player and Ernie Els, who won at Muirfield in 1959 and 2002. Buhai is the 44th Rolex First-Time Winner at a major.
Buhai, who started Sunday with a five-stroke lead at -14, never looked comfortable on the Muirfield courses. She had one birdie and two bogeys on the front nine, but still led by three at the turn
With bogeys at 10 and 12, Chun fell three strokes behind Buhai.Buhai encountered a fairway bunker off the tee and hit sideways, needing two shots to clear the rough.
After hitting her fifth shot over the green, she needed two putts to make a triple-bogey 7, tying Chun at -10.Buhai might have reclaimed the lead at No. 17. Her birdie putt at No. 17 hit the cup's right edge and ricocheted, leaving Buhai to tap in for a par.
Chun saved par from a greenside bunker on the first playoff hole, while Buhai two-putted. Chun muffed her chip from the left rough and missed her par putt by 5 feet.
I'm proud of how I've persisted. In the last four or five years, I've really found my footing on the LPGA and felt I could compete. At 33, I'm playing the best golf of my career. It's been a hard road, but it's worth it now.”