“They say things happen for a reason, so we're here.”
South African Ashleigh Buhai didn’t plan to be in Hawaii this week. She planned to be back in Florida getting ready for the LPGA Tour’s upcoming back-to-back events in Los Angeles. But after issues obtaining her P1 visa back home kept her out of the JTBC Classic three weeks ago, Buhai added a week in Oahu to her schedule.
And it’s a good thing she did. Buhai finished solo fourth at the LOTTE Championship, her best finish since she lost in a playoff at the 2020 Portland Classic.
“Kind of regrouped after Chevron. Went back to Florida for seven days, did some good practice, and then kind of found something this week,” said Buhai. “It worked, and that's all I thought about the whole week. Didn't try to get ahead of myself. Conditions were tough, yeah, to just be so patient, and I felt I did that very well.”
That thing Buhai found was a realization that the ever-tempting quest for more distance and speed was not for her. Buhai went back to what she called her old rhythm, focusing on keeping her clubface consistent throughout the swing. That heightened level of security with her swing really helped her maintain her composure and accuracy through the hefty winds that buffeted Hoakalei Country Club all week.
“I prefer tougher conditions because you get out of the technical side of the game. You have to hit shots,” said Buhai. “I'm a feel player and I like to imagine things, so I think coming here this week helped me get back into that mode of imagining shots and standing up and hitting them again.”