Throwing away a five-shot lead on the final day of a major would previously have sent Ashleigh Buhai into panic mode but the South African said her work with a sports psychologist helped her stay calm and claim the Women’s British Open on Sunday.
A triple bogey at the 15th saw Buhai drop into a share of the lead with South Korea’s Chun In-gee but the 33-year-old came out on top after a thrilling playoff at Muirfield to seal her maiden major title.
Buhai said she had been unsure if she would ever realise her potential before seeking the services of British mental coach Duncan McCarthy earlier this year.
“If you told me in February that I would be sitting here, I would never have believed you with the mental state I was in, to be honest,” Buhai told reporters. “I had been swinging good for a long time and could not keep myself in the moment.
He’s given me the tools … to stay in the moment, and all I can control, and stay away from the outcome.“ Buhai’s mental resolve was tested by the disastrous 15th but she came back with three pars to set up the playoff.
“I didn’t panic, which I thought was huge, and just tried to make a good swing on the next and just try to make good swings coming in to give myself a chance,” she added. “And then obviously I ran my putt past on 18 a little bit but holed a great par to keep myself in the playoff.”