Ashleigh Buhai made a great start to the LPGA Tour’s Pelican Women’s Championship on Thursday when she carded an opening four-under-par 66 at the tournament being played at the Pelican Golf Club, Belleair in Florida.
She reached 18 holes two strokes behind the leader, world number 28 Sophia Popov of Germany, and one stroke ahead of Korea’s Sei Young Kim and America’s Ally McDonald.
Buhai said she’s feeling as confident as ever in her career, and it showed during the first round. In her last four events, Buhai has recorded two top-six finishes, including a second-place performance at the Cambia Portland Classic where she lost in a play-off to Georgia Hall.
Even though she opened on Thursday with a bogey on the second, Buhai rebounded, playing bogey-free the rest of the way and recording five birdies en route to a 66. She credits not only her team, but the ability to be patient, as she works to be in contention once again.
“I feel very comfortable where I am right now. I feel my coach and I have got my game to where I’m very consistent, and as long as I stay patient, I’m going to have that one or two good weeks and hopefully pull one out soon,” said Buhai.
Buhai stayed in West Palm Beach during the LPGA Tour’s three-week hiatus and put in the work, playing against fellow South Africans Erik Van Rooyen and Branden Grace of the PGA TOUR to stay fresh. She said she usually bounces back and forth between the United States and South Africa, but COVID-19 has put a stop to those transatlantic flights for her and her husband David Buhai, a LPGA Tour caddie. They hope to relocate to the US in the new year.
“My husband and I are looking to relocate, so that’s one of the areas we are thinking about going,” said Buhai. “Just spent some time down in Jupiter, Florida to see if we like it. It was nice. We’ve got to see what we’re going to do.”
With reporting from LPGA.com