Buhai best SA player in tough opening round of US Women’s Open

Jun 4, 2021 | Featured, South Africans abroad

Ashleigh Buhai was the best of the three South Africans in action in the US Women’s Open Championship on Thursday as she carded a three-over-par 74 to open her campaign at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.

Her four bogeys and a birdie put her in a share of 54th place after the first round, right on the projected cut line which will trim the field to the top 60 players and ties after the second round. The joint leaders on four-under-par 67 were American 17-year-old amateur Megha Ganne and Mel Reid of England, who had a one-stroke edge over the American duo of Meghan Kang and Angel Yin, and the in-form Canadian Brooke Henderson.

South African Women’s Open champion Lee-Anne Pace started with a five-over 76, and will have work to do if she is to feature in weekend action. So too will Nicole Garcia, who battled her way to nine-over 80 in the first round.

High school junior Ganne became the first amateur in 15 years to have a share of the lead after any round at the US Women’s Open. The 17-year-old from New Jersey made back-to-back birdies on the back nine to take sole possession of the lead before making bogey on the 18th to end the day in a tie with Reid. Ganne became the first amateur to lead after a round at the Open since Jane Park did it after one round at Newport Country Club in 2006.

The notoriously tough Lake Course played a little easier than usual after the rough was trimmed a bit before the round. There were 15 players who shot under par. A Lim Kim, of the Republic of Korea, is in danger of becoming the first defending champion to miss the cut since countrywoman Sung Hyun Park in 2018 after carding eight-over-par 79.

The top of the leaderboard could have looked very different before Henderson three-putted from less than 20 feet on the 18th hole to fall out of a share of the lead.

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