Extra Points: Buhai rallies to win ShopRite Classic
By DAVID WEINBERG
Ashleigh Buhai is starting to live up to the hype; Lauded as a potential star 15 years ago, she struggled to fulfill those lofty expectations for over a decade.
The native of South Africa has won four tournaments in the last two years, including Sunday's 35th edition of the ShopRite LPGA Classic at Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway Township.
"I was touted to be the next big thing out of South Africa," she said. "But golf is just not like that all the time."
It was this weekend as Buhai shot a 6-under 65 on Seaview's Bay Course Sunday to finish the tournament at 14-under, good for a one-shot victory over South Korea's Hyo Joo Kim. Yan Liu was third at 10-under, followed by Nanna Koerstz Madsen and Dani Holmqvist at 10-under. Holmqvist, who led after the second round, shot 1-over 72 Sunday.
At 34 years, 11 months, Buhai became the oldest winner on the LPGA tour this year. She earned $262,500 for Sunday's win. Buhai was ranked 84th in the world as recently as two years ago, but is starting to find a groove. The ShopRite Classic was her second career LPGA win, following her victory at the AIG Women's Open. She also won the Investec South African Women's Open and the Australian Women's Open.
"Yeah, this is definitely the best golf I've played in my career," Buhai said. "When I put everything together, I know that I can compete and have a chance to win. Obviously, it's difficult to do every week. But I keep trying....My goal this year was to win in the U.S., to finally get that monkey off my back. I'm very proud of myself for doing it."