Ashleigh Buhai seized control of the Women’s Open with a brilliant third round at Muirfield.
The South African powered into contention with a round of 65 on Friday and she followed it up with a display of controlled, confident golf.
Buhai began the day one adrift of the lead but as In Gee Chun faltered, she powered on to seize control of the final major of the year.
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The 33-year-old has no form whatsoever at major championships, but she will begin the final day with a five-shot lead over Hinaki Shibuno and Chun.
It can be difficult backing up standout rounds, but Buhai followed the blueprint from Friday by making her score on the front nine.
Buhai made birdies on two, four, five, six and seven to make the turn in 31 strokes.
Further birdies came on 10 and 14, but the key was she kept things simple for the most part.
She got out of position when going through the back of 17, but chipped in for a birdie to get to 15-under.
The 18th played brutally tough - there were only two birdies all day - and after short-siding herself with her second, Buhai could not get up and down and carded the only bogey in a round of 64, which was a course record.
"It is great to play well on moving day," Buhai told Sky Sports. "I tried to just stay focused on what I did the last two days, play within myself and do what I can control. Just keep my rhythm in the wind."
Depending on which stat you want to take hold of, history is and is not in Buhai's side.
As pointed out by Justin Ray: "All 4 major winners so far in the women's game in 2022 held the 54-hole lead; since the British became a major in 2001, there hasn't been a season where every major was won by the 54-hole leader."
Chun played solid golf. But on a day when Buhai made it look so simple, solid was not enough. She is five off the lead after a round of 70.
Madelene Sagstrom looked like the player capable of pushing Buhai when draining a long putt for a birdie on the fourth.
But the Swede found more than her fair share of bunkers in a round of 71.

Third Round Leaderboard

  • 1. Ashleigh Buhai, 14-under
  • T2. Hinaki Shibuno, nine-under
  • T2. In Gee Chun, nine-under
  • T4. Inbee Park, seven-under
  • T4. Madelene Sagstrom, seven-under
  • T6. Miyuu Yamashita, five-under
  • T6. Minjee Lee, five-under
  • T6. Steph Kyriacou, five-under
The 2019 Women’s Open champion, Shibuno bounced back from a 73 on Friday to surge into contention with a round of 66 and will be in the final group alongside Buhai on Sunday.
Charley Hull is flying the flag for England and she went round in 69 to get to three-under, but likely too far back for a Sunday challenge.
Despite being 11 back of Buhai, Hull is not giving up hope.
“Anything can happen,” Hull said. “Never forget the first professional event I won, I was 17, and I shot 9-under in the final round to get into the playoff and I won, so you never know.”
Evian Championship winner Brooke Henderson made three birdies in a round of 69 to get to four-under alongside teenage sensation Atthaya Thitikul.
Nelly Korda scraped into the weekend and raised the prospect of a charge on moving day with a birdie on her opening hole, but she gave it back on the second and three bogeys on her back nine saw the world No. 3 slip back to three-over.
Korda’s sister Jessica also struggled in round three, and a 73 took her outside the top 30 at even par.
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