GULLANE, UK: South African Ashleigh Buhai took a firm grip on the Women’s British Open on Saturday with an impressive third round 64 at Muirfield to leave her dreaming of emulating childhood hero Ernie Els.
On 14 under par, Buhai led by five shots from halfway leader Chun In-gee (70) and Japan’s Hinako Shibuno (66). Park In-bee and Madelene Sagstrom were tied for fourth on seven under.
The 33-year-old Buhai has never scaled the same heights as a professional as she did as a teenage phenomenon.
Known then as Ashleigh Simon, she won the first of three South African Amateur Championships at the tender age of 14.
She has won three times on the Ladies’ European Tour and has two South African Women’s Opens but is still waiting for the breakthrough on the LPGA Tour.
One behind Chun at halfway after rounds of 70 and 65, she was in inspired form in the brutal cool and windy conditions.
She made eight birdies and, for the second day in a row, her only dropped shot came at the 18th.