Ashleigh Buhai

Major champion Ashleigh Buhai returns to play the Investec South African Women’s Open for the first time since 2020 this week. 

The South African superstar has had an excellent start to her 2023 season with three top-10s on the LPGA Tour as well as T24 at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International. 

Steenberg Golf Club hosts the tournament, which Buhai has won three times previously, and will see 132 players from 29 nations teeing it up. 

The 2022 AIG Women’s Open champion will begin her first round at 07.40 local time alongside compatriot and defending champion Lee-Anne Pace and England’s Lily May Humphreys. 

Buhai, who is number 18 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, is excited to be able to play in a tournament in her homeland once again in front of friends and family. 

“I’m super happy to be here,” said the four-time LET winner. “I have never got off to a good start like this season. To have three top 10s in the first three LPGA Tour events – that’s never happened. The belief was always there but when you do it then it steps up even more.

“I want to win any event. Any week you tee up, you want to win. I’m here and I wanted to come back and support the event. I’ve always tried to play when I could, but with it falling in an off-week, I made the effort to come back. 

“I know there’s going to be pressure, I think everyone expects me to tee up and win but that’s not golf, you can’t guarantee that. Hopefully, I can go out there and keep doing what I’ve been doing with my processes and steps and the outcome will come. 

“But if it doesn’t, then it doesn’t. I have won this tournament three times, I don’t have to prove anything. I’m just going to enjoy being around family and friends and have fun.”

Buhai works exceptionally hard on the mental side of her game and credits that as a big part of last year’s Major victory. 

But even in the current season, the South African has noticed when something is not quite right and adjusted her processes accordingly. 

Focusing on the result is not what she wants to do and instead Buhai controls what she is able to and her game is better for it. 

She explained: “I came back to being more processed-based than result-based. As athletes we are judged on our results. Then you start to judge yourself if you’ve missed the cut and it eats into everything. 

“We started to do a few things better every day and every week we have a few goals – whether it’s tempo or percentage or playing from a calm place. I played in Saudi a few weeks ago and felt my intensity was too high because I was so focused on trying to have a good result and then I had a bad finish, so I focused on the result too much. 

“I went to Thailand and the goal was to improve my chipping and putting a little bit, but also to play from a calm place. It’s about taking away from that technical place and having something that you can control such as my tempo or how I feel.”

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