[PHOTO: Getty Images]
South African Ashleigh Buhai defeated a charging Minjee Lee to successfully defend her Australian Open title.
Buhai, the overnight leader by three strokes, was struggling on Sunday at The Australian Golf Club, sending her approach into the water on the 17th. Her lead was reduced to just one over two-time major winner Lee when the duo stood on the 18th tee.
Buhai, who won last year’s Women’s British Open and Australian Open in the same year, failed to make a birdie during a three-over 75 which left her at nine-under par. The South African needed to make a three-footer for par on the 18th but managed to secure back-to-back Women’s Australian Open titles.
Women’s world No.5 Lee posted a three-under 69 and finished second place at eight under. Jenny Shin and Jiyai Shin finished tied third at four under. Hannah Green and Steph Kyriacou were tied fifth at three under
Buhai said it wasn’t stressful to win another Patricia Bridges Bowl despite Lee coming at her all day.
“To be honest, I wasn’t feeling the pressure,” Buhai said. “I knew Minjee would come at me today, but the conditions were so tough. I just kind of said, ‘hit it to your spaces, play park golf, make them catch you’.”
Lee falling short means the drought of Australians winning the Women’s Open extends another year. Five-time champion Karrie Webb is the last Australian to win in 2014.
Added Lee: “I’m happy, but I’m a little unhappy at the same time. I was seven shots behind starting the day, so I just tried to do the very best that I could and stay in the moment really, and try and focus on every single shot as it was thrown at me. I feel like I still had a solid tournament.”
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