South Africa's Buhai Hangs On To Defend Women's Australian Open Crown
Sumaira FH Published December 03, 2023 | 12:00 PM
Sydney, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 3rd Dec, 2023) South African Ashleigh Buhai successfully defended her Australian Open title Sunday, overcoming late nerves to hold off charging fellow major winner Minjee Lee for a one-shot win.
In doing so, the 2022 British Open champion became the first back-to-back winner since Taiwan's Tseng Ya-ni in 2010-11.
The 35-year-old carded a three-over-par 75 to end at nine-under for the tournament, a stroke ahead of Lee whose 69 ensured a tense finale.
"To be honest, I wasn't feeling the pressure, I knew Minjee and Ji-yai would come at me today," she said.
"But the conditions were so tough, I just said hit it into your spaces, play par golf and make them catch you."
Shin birdied the first and the third to move within a shot of Buhai, before a bogey at the sixth again left her two adrift.
But two-time major winner and playing partner Lee was in fine touch and reduced the deficit to three shots with six holes left.
A disastrous double bogey at the 13th appeared to end Lee's charge, but the pressure got to Buhai who bogeyed the 13th, 14th and 17th to set up a nervous final hole with her lead down to one stroke.
Lee came up short with a long birdie putt that could have forced a playoff as Buhai sunk a three-footer for par and back-to-back Australian Open wins.
Shin collapsed to a 77, ending tied for third with fellow South Korean Jenny Shin, five behind Buhai.
The Jack Nicklaus-designed Australian Golf Club was the main venue across all four days, while the nearby Lakes Golf Club co-hosted play during the first two rounds.
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