Women's British Open

Unheralded Buhai tries to ignore Major pressure

South Africa's Ashleigh Buhai hitting a tee shot on the second day of the Women's British Open golf championship at Woburn.
South Africa's Ashleigh Buhai hitting a tee shot on the second day of the Women's British Open golf championship at Woburn. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MILTON KEYNES (England) • South African Ashleigh Buhai continued to find herself in uncharted territory, extending her lead to three shots after the second round at the Women's British Open on Friday.

The 30-year-old compiled a bogey-free five-under 67 at the Woburn Golf Club to head a leaderboard that had players from seven countries in the top eight.

Buhai, having never led a Major before this week and without a top-25 finish, posted a 12-under 132 halfway total. Japan's Hinako Shibuno shot 69 for second place on 135, with American Lizette Salas (67) another stroke back in third.

Said Buhai: "My goal was to get it to double figures, 10 under or better. Once I got it to eight, nine and 10 under, I felt more comfortable and was able to put my foot down."

She is trying to deal with the pressure by treating the championship as just another week in the office.

"I'm trying not to keep thinking it's a Major," she said. "It's something I've been working on the last few weeks, because I've been under the gun, whether it be making the cut or having three good rounds and one bad round.

"My focus is just trying to keep my tension the same, whether I'm putting, hitting (because) that's something I can control."

Shibuno, 20, in her first LPGA Tour appearance, showcased to an international audience the skills that have garnered her two Japan LPGA victories this year.

"I just wanted to make the cut. That's all," said the world No. 46, who nickname is Smile Cinderella because of her constant grin.

Bronte Law, the top-ranked English player at world No. 19, shot 67 and was four shots back alongside Celine Boutier, second-ranked Park Sung-hyun (70), Caroline Masson (68) and another Briton Charley Hull (70), who is playing on her home course. Boutier had the day's lowest round of 66.

Defending champion Georgia Hall (69) of England, Thai star Ariya Jutanugarn (70) and last week's Evian Championship winner and top-ranked Ko Jin-young (70) of South Korea were six back.

Seven-time Major champion Park In-bee and former world No. 1s Ryu So-yeon and Lydia Ko were among those who missed the cut.

REUTERS, ASSOCIATED PRESS


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 04, 2019, with the headline 'Unheralded Buhai tries to ignore Major pressure'. Print Edition | Subscribe