Ashleigh Buhai fired a final round of 68 (-4) to win the 2023 Investec South African Women’s Open at Steenberg Golf Club.
The South African superstar had held a four-shot lead since the midway mark and maintained that advantage on the final day.
Buhai rolled in six birdies and two bogeys on the fourth day of competition to seal her fifth LET title with a score of 22-under-par and win this tournament for the fourth time.
“I’m over the world right now,” said the Major champion. “I’m ecstatic to have got the job done. My goal was to come in here and win this week. I tried to play it down because it’s a lot of pressure and I knew it was going to be difficult. Now, I’ve got it done and over the line I’m really happy.
“It’s always important for me to try and play the Investec SA Women’s Open when I can, unfortunately the scheduling didn’t work out in the last few years with it moving due to Covid but I’m happy even though it was at the end of a four-week run. I was a little tired at the beginning of the week but obviously, now I’m thrilled I was able to come back and play it.
“With what I’m doing at the moment between my golf swing and the mental side, I just need to stick it. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel and hopefully, I can keep up this consistency, that’s what my main goal is to become more consistent and give myself a chance every now and then to win a golf tournament.”
The 2022 AIG Women’s Open champion began her day with a birdie on the first and then made three birdies on the trot between holes four and six, before adding another on the ninth.
It was a tougher back nine for Buhai with bogeys on 15 and 17, but she finished in style with a birdie on 18 to win her home tournament for the first time since 2018.
She explained: “It was great to start off with a birdie especially after yesterday when I made a bogey. I hit a good putt on two and three, birdied four and five. I just kept it going.
“On the back nine, I felt I hit good shots, I was just in between yardages and the wind got a little bit trickier. Luckily, I had that big lead, so I could just hit it to the space on the green and take my two putts and they had to come chasing. I did what I had to do to get the job done.
“I’m very proud of myself with how I battled through and also Dave keeping me in it especially yesterday, trying not to exert energy. Today my energy was back and it showed with the way I came out and I did really commit to hitting those golf shots.
“I’m sure there will be a celebratory brie tonight! We’ve got a few family and friends here so it’s going to be nice to be able to share it with them.”
For a consecutive week, Spain’s Ana Pelaez Trivino finished in second place on the LET after she produced a round of 68 (-4) on the final day to reach 18-under-par.
It was a flawless day for the LET winner who rolled in birdies on holes five, 10, 12 and 18 to secure her runner-up finish.
The Spaniard said: “I felt really good this week and last week. We’re focusing on doing our job, eating well, going to the gym, resting, playing golf and being mentally stable. We’re making sure that every area is covered and then just go out there and have fun.
“Luckily, we’re playing good golf and we can enjoy it even more. I’m going to take everything to next week and hopefully get that win. I like runner-up finishes, but I’d rather have the trophy with me!”
Germany’s Chiara Noja ended the tournament in solo third place on 17-under-par after a fourth round of 69 (-3) which included four birdies and one bogey.
“I’m really proud of myself that I managed to pull through this week,” said the teenager. “After the first round, I was feeling really bad physically. I played decent golf today. I had so many missed opportunities and I finally didn’t miss the top 10. We’re back in business.”
Argentina’s Magdalena Simmermacher finished in fourth place on 15-under-par with South Africa’s Kaleigh Telfer in fifth on 11-under-par, while Czechia’s Klara Davidson Spilkova was one shot further back in sixth spot.
Five players finished in a tie for seventh place with France’s Anais Meyssonnier, England’s Gabriella Cowley, South Africa’s Casandra Alexander, Sweden’s Johanna Gustavsson and Italy’s Alessandra Fanali all on nine-under-par.
In the 2023 Race to Costa del Sol, India’s Aditi Ashok continues to lead the way with 1,210 points to her name.
Spain’s Pelaez Trivino moves up to second in the rankings with 754 points with Investec SA Women’s Open champion Buhai third with 545.19 points.
England’s Lily May Humphreys sits in fourth with Sweden’s Maja Stark in fifth, England’s Alice Hewson in sixth and Belgium’s Manon De Roey in seventh.
Germany’s Noja moves up to eighth place with 391.25 points, Sweden’s Linn Grant is ninth and Switzerland’s Albane Valenzuela rounds out the top 10.