Emotional Ashleigh Buhai holds back tears after Open triumph, credits her strong support staff

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An emotional Ashleigh Buhai says her Women's Open triumph could not have been done without a strong support structure.

Buhai, 33, made history on Sunday when she won the Women's Open at Muirfield, becoming only the third South African woman to win a major golf championship.

Golf Hall of famer Sally Little won the Women's PGA Championship in 1980 and the 1988 Du Maurier Classic, which was a women's major from 1979 until 2000. Alison Sheard also won the Women's Open in 1979 at Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club.

Buhai's win wasn't without its challenges, however, as she survived a disastrous triple bogey seven at the 15th before winning a marathon playoff against Korean Chun In-gee.

Both players tied on 10 under par after 72 holes, and, in near total darkness, it was Buhai who eventually secured the final major of the season with a par four at the fourth extra hole, the 18th.

Chun bunkered her drive and took five, while Buhai got up and down from a greenside bunker, holing out from two feet for victory.

"Obviously there's a huge team behind every player. I'd like to thank my family, my parents back home... I know that they are watching right now. Thank you for your support," an emotional Buhai said.

Buhai also heaped praise on the remainder of her support staff: "To my coach, Doug Wood, he was here at the beginning of the week. Unfortunately, he went back home but I've been with him for 12 years and we've been building, and it's finally happened. So, thank you Dougie.

"To somebody recently on my team, Duncan McCarthy, my mental coach... I started working with him like four months ago... I don't think I could have achieved this today and stayed so mentally calm without him.

"To my caddie, Tanya (Paterson)... we did it, I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you for keeping it light-hearted, for making me smile. I appreciate all you do for me.

"And obviously to my husband David Buhai... you were on the bag for eight years, you know what it's like and you've been with me through the ups and downs for 15 years and this one's for both of us, thank you."

Leading fourth and final round scores in the Women's British Open at Muirfield on Sunday (USA unless stated, Par 71):

274 - Ashleigh Buhai (RSA) 70-65-64-75, Chun In-gee (KOR) 68-66-70-70

(Buhai won after fourth extra play-off hole)

275 - Hinako Shibuno (JPN) 65-73-66-71 

277 - Madelene Sagstroem (SWE) 70-65-71-71, Minjee Lee (AUS) 68-70-70-69, Leona Maguire (IRL) 71-69-71-66

279 - Atthaya Thitikul (THA) 71-69-69-70, Stephanie Kyriacou (AUS) 70-68-70-71, Lydia Ko (NZL) 71-70-70-68, Nasa Hataoka (JPN) 71-69-71-68, Brooke Henderson (CAN) 70-70-69-70, Celine Boutier (FRA) 68-70-74-67 

280 - Kim A-lim (KOR) 70-71-69-70, Miyu Yamashita (JPN) 69-68-71-72 

281 - Kim Hyo-joo (KOR) 73-66-70-72, Alison Lee 74-69-67-71, Kotone Hori (JPN) 72-68-72-69


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