From LPGA Tour
Last week’s ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer winner Ashleigh Buhai is back at the top of the leaderboard through two rounds of this week’s Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give, firing a 4-under 68 on Friday that saw her make six birdies and one double bogey.
Buhai began the day on the par-five 10th, opening with three consecutive pars before rattling off four consecutive birdies on holes 13 through 16. Parring the 17th, she grabbed one more birdie on 18 to get to five-under on the day and turn in 31, but her train ran off the tracks a bit on her final nine as the South African double bogeyed the par-four first hole to drop back to three-under. She recovered though, recording seven pars and a birdie on six to post her second consecutive round of 68 and sit inside the top 10.
“I hit good shots, but I’ve been putting really well and that’s been the key this year to good play. I feel like if I get myself within that 20-foot range I have a chance of holing it at the moment, which is a really nice feeling,” said Buhai, who hit 15 of 18 greens and needed 29 putts to get the job done on day two. “This course generally is a low-scoring tournament. You have to make birdies to keep up here, which generally doesn’t actually suit my game. With the frame of mind I’ve come into the tournament with and I’ve just tried to continue the form, continue just doing the things that I’m focusing on in my swing and my putting and not trying to think of the outcome.”
Buhai’s win in New Jersey was her second career victory on the LPGA Tour and first in the United States as the 34-year-old’s only other Tour title came at the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield last season. She’s recorded five other top-10 finishes in addition to the victory, including a solo third at the Cognizant Founders Cup at Upper Montclair Country Club, also in the Garden State. Coming to the Meijer LPGA Classic fresh off a victory, Buhai isn’t showing any signs of slowing down this week at Blythefield Country Club, an impressive show of stamina considering how taxing it can be to play the week after winning on the LPGA Tour.
“It’s so hard to play at a high level for weeks in a row. I think that’s something I’m most proud of, to come out here the first two days and to be in the mix again more than anything. I’m not trying to change anything, just sticking to the same frame of mind and trusting my swing,” Buhai said. “Of course, you pull from (that success). You pull from the same feels, the same swing thoughts, and you try and repeat it this week. With golf it doesn’t always happen, but so far it’s working.”