The LPGA is an international tour with members from all across the globe, and with so many returning to their home countries during the Covid-19 pandemic, players encountered a wide variety of experiences.
Ashleigh Buhai spent a few months back in South Africa. Golf courses were closed for two months, so she couldn’t play or practice. She hit balls into a net for a spell in a garden at her parents’ house, but she said that novelty wore off in a hurry. So she just tried to enjoy the solitude and downtime. When she traveled back to the U.S. to return to competition, she was nearly 8 hours into her trip before her flight in Johannesburg even got off the ground. Getting to Chicago was an odyssey of 38 hours.
Buhai, 31, who won four professional events while an amateur but who never has won on the LPGA, came close two weeks ago at the Cambia Portland Classic, where she lost in a playoff to Georgia Hall. She was disappointed with the loss but said there were far more positives to take from it. Starting Sunday seven shots back, she made eight birdies and shot 65. Her finish qualified her for the U.S. Women’s Open in two months.
And a hot putter catapulted her into contention once again at Aronimink.
Buhai got married in 2016; her husband, David Buhai, was her caddie, but they decided it might be best for him to work for somebody else. He’s at the KPMG on the bag of Madeline Sagstrom.
Why the move? “Some people say it might be good to stay married,” Ashleigh said with a hearty laugh. “When things are going great, there's nothing better than doing well with your spouse, but this way at least if I have a bad week and he has a good week, it evens it out and vice versa. We take a little bit from each basket now, hopefully putting it together.”