MUIRFIELD, Scotland — After seeing a five-shot lead slip away in the final round, Ashleigh Buhai still managed to secure a first major title at the Women’s British Open.
Buhai kept her composure to beat In Gee Chun — and the setting sun — in a playoff at Muirfield on Sunday for her first career victory in an LPGA Tour event.
With the light fading, the South African golfer made a superb bunker shot on the fourth playoff hole to leave herself with a short par putt, while Chun settled for a bogey.
The 33-year-old Buhai calmly rolled in from less than three feet and then clutched her face in relief, before being drenched in water and other beverages by her entourage.
“I was surprisingly calm,” Buhai said about the clutch bunker shot that secured the victory. “My caddy said to me on the last one, I don’t want to brag, but she said ‘Show them why you’re No. 1 in bunkers this year.’ So, you know, she gave me the confidence. Maybe it’s got something to do with Muirfield and South Africans and bunker shots.”
Ernie Els also won the men’s British Open in a playoff at Muirfield in 2002 after a memorable bunker shot during the final round. This was the first time the Women’s British Open was played at Muirfield, a club that didn’t even allow female members until 2019 following a vote two years earlier.
Buhai made things a lot more difficult than they had to be, though.
She entered the final round with a commanding five-shot lead and was still three strokes ahead before a triple bogey on the par-four 15th that put her level with Chun.
Both players missed long birdie putts on the 18th as they settled for a playoff after finishing on 10-under 274.
“I know there are a lot of people in South Africa with lots of gray hair right now after that 15th hole,” Buhai said. “But I’m very proud of myself, the way I dug deep and kept myself in it to get into that playoff.”
Buhai shot a four-over 75 in the final round, while Chun carded a 70.
Hinako Shibuno of Japan, the 2019 champion, finished one shot back in third after missing a chip from just off the green that would have made it a three-way playoff.
Kim, 20, wins Wyndham
GREENSBORO, NC — Joohyung “Tom” Kim announced his arrival on the PGA Tour when the 20-year-old South Korean closed with a nine-under 61 for a five-shot victory in the Wyndham Championship, making him the second-youngest winner on tour since World War II.
A marathon day because of storm delays turned into a sprint for Kim. He finished the third round in the morning and was two shots behind, and then shot 27 on the front nine to leave the rest of the field in his wake.
No one came close the rest of the way.
The victory gave Kim instant membership on the PGA Tour, making him eligible for the FedEx Cup playoffs that start next week. He is No. 34, assured of playing two postseason events and with a reasonable shot at getting to the finale at East Lake.
Sungjae Im, who finished seven holes Sunday morning to take the 54-hole lead, had a 68 and tied for second along with John Huh (67).
Kim is the first PGA Tour winner born after 2000. Jordan Spieth was 19 when he won the John Deere Classic for his first tour win.
“I can’t believe it,” Kim said, and then adding with a laugh, “I didn’t know golf was this stressful.”
It sure didn’t look that way for Kim, who opened the tournament with a quadruple-bogey eight, laughed it off and then finished the week at 20-under 260 at Sedgefield Country Club.
It was plenty stressful for others, even those who weren’t playing.
The heartbreak belonged to Justin Lower, who was poised to move into the top 125 in the FedEx Cup to reach the postseason and secure a full card for next season.
But on the final hole, Lower hit his 60-foot birdie putt a little too firm. That left him a six-foot par putt that would have put him inside the top 125. He missed it to the right and was wiping away tears as he walked off the green.
“I don’t really know what I’m thinking. It sucks to come up this short,” Lower said. “Obviously had some help with the LIV guys and whatnot — I don’t even know if I’m allowed to say that. But I don’t know. There are positives. But right now, it just flat out sucks.”
Kelly prevails in Champions
CALGARY, Canada — Jerry Kelly missed a chance to win in regulation and then made short work in the playoff with a four-foot birdie putt to win the Shaw Charity Classic for his third title of the season on the PGA Tour Champions.
Kelly closed with a three-under 67 and won the playoff over John Huston, who shot 65 in one of his best chances to win in his 11 years on the 50-and-older circuit.
The final round was so tight that five players finished one shot behind.
Kirk Triplett, who had the lead going into the final round, had a four-foot birdie putt on the par-five 18th to join Kelly and Huston at nine-under 201. But it lost speed and caught the edge of the cup. Triple shot 69.