Ashleigh Buhai said she’s feeling as confident as ever in her career, and it showed during the first round of the Pelican Women’s Championship. In her last four events, Buhai has recorded two top six finishes, including a second-place performance at the Cambia Portland Classic where she lost in a playoff to Georgia Hall.
Even though she opened Thursday at Pelican Golf Club with a bogey on No. 2, Buhai rebounded, playing bogey-free the rest of the way and recording five birdies en route to a 66. She credits not only her team, but the ability to be patient, as she works to be in contention once again.
“I feel very comfortable where I am right now. I feel my coach and I have got my game to where I'm very consistent, and as long as I stay patient, I'm going to have that one or two good weeks and hopefully pull one out soon,” said Buhai, currently in solo second and two shots behind leader Sophia Popov.
Buhai stayed in West Palm Beach during the LPGA Tour’s three-week hiatus and put in the work, playing against fellow South Africans Erik Van Rooyen and Branden Grace of the PGA TOUR to stay fresh. She said she usually bounces back and forth between the United States and South Africa, but COVID-19 has put a stop to those transatlantic flights for her and her husband David Buhai, a LPGA Tour caddie. They hope to relocate to the U.S. next spring.
“My husband and I are looking to relocate, so that's one of the areas we are thinking about going,” said Buhai. “Just spent some time down [in Jupiter, Fla.] to see if we like it. It was nice. We've got to see what we're going to do.”
INJURY, CHANGE IN CADDIE CAN’T SLOW DOWN JODI EWART SHADOFF
A few weeks ago, Jodi Ewart Shadoff sprained her sacroiliac joint while unplugging a charger from the wall. “Not even a fun story,” said the Englishwoman. Before coming to Pelican Women’s Championship presented by DEX Imaging and Konica Minolta, she took three weeks off to heal and eased back into practice form while doing physical therapy. “This is the first time I've walked 18 holes since KPMG [Women’s PGA Championship],” said Ewart Shadoff, who recorded a first-round 68 on Thursday at Pelican Golf Club. “Just started with short game and then kind of gradually hit one more club every day and worked myself up. I didn't try to rush back or anything. I've probably been practicing for the last two weeks or so.”
Ewart Shadoff, who sits in a tie for fifth at -2 after day one, is back with Symetra Tour player and friend Holly Clyburn on the bag. She said Clyburn will caddie for her in each of the next three events as well. The last time the two joined up was at the LPGA Tour’s restart in Toledo, where Ewart Shadoff finished fifth at the LPGA Drive On Championship—Inverness Club and in a tie for second at the Marathon LPGA Classic presented by Dana.
“You know, we have a lot of fun out there,” Ewart Shadoff said. “She's very positive and a great green reader. It really helps me. So, yeah, it's a lot of fun.”