Credit where it’s due … Why Ashleigh Buhai is SA’s best golfer on the global stage

Ashleigh Buhai of South Africa celebrates after winning back to back wins during Round 4 of the Women’s Australian Open 2023 at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney, Australia

Ashleigh Buhai is the top-ranked SA player, man or woman, on the planet at the moment. Picture: Dan Himbrechts/EPA

Published Dec 4, 2023


While Dean Burmester stole the headlines with his back-to-back victories, culminating in his SA Open triumph, Ashleigh Buhai completed her own impressive victory run this past weekend.

Buhai successfully defended her Australian Open title on Sunday, holding off a charging Minjee Lee by a stroke to clinch the trophy.

In fact, Buhai is the top-ranked SA player, man or woman, on the planet at the moment. Buhai was ranked 26th in the world before the victory Down Under, and will rise even higher when the rankings are updated this week. Burmester is the top-ranked SA man at 77th in the world.

For her efforts, the 2022 Women’s (British) Open champion pocketed R3.6m as opposed to the R4.7m payday LIV Golfer Burmester banked for his SA Open win.

‘Proud defence’

"I'm so proud to defend my title," Buhai said after she was able to close out the win after starting the day with a three-shot lead. "I knew they had to come catch me, so I just played smart golf. Most of the crowd were supporting Minjee, but it was a lot of fun out there.”

"To be honest, I wasn't feeling the pressure, I knew Minjee and [Shin] Ji-yai would come at me today," she said.

"But the conditions were so tough, I just said hit it into your spaces, play par golf and make them catch you.”

It was also the first time in more than a decade that a player defended the Australian Open title, since Taiwan’s Tseng Ya-ni achieved the feat in the 2010/2011 season. Quite a feather in the cap of Buhai indeed.

The 34-year-old signed for a final round three-over 75 to end the event on nine-under. The victory is Buhai’s second this year, after winning the SA Women’s Open in March.