CAPE TOWN, 7 February 2017 – If one had to judge her performance in the opening round of the Cape Town Ladies Open on Monday, the honeymoon might be over, but Ashleigh Buhai is having a whale of a time after giving her husband the boot.
The couple tied the knot last December, but after seven years of wearing her bag, David got the boot after last week’s Ladies Tshwane Open. “We’ve split up, but only on the golf course,” laughed Buhai after she and new bagman Johan Swanepoel toured the par-74 layout at Royal Cape Golf Club layout in three under.
It was hardly surprising to see Buhai at the top of the pile in the fifth counting event on this year’s Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies. She enjoyed runner-up finishes in her first three starts season – the SA Women’s Masters, SA Women’s Open and Ladies Tshwane Open last week – but now the pressure is on Swanepoel to walk her into the winner’s circle on Thursday.
“I won’t put it all on Johan, but yes, I’d love for us to get that first win this week,” Buhai said.
“We decided before we got married that we would split in 2017 and David is going to work for Pernille Lindberg from Sweden when we go back to the USA to compete on LPGA Tour. “I reconnected with Johan when he caddied for Lee-Anne last year and he was the natural choice to take over from David. He is very experienced and David and I agreed the time was right to split.” Swanepoel was on Dawie van der Walt’s bag when he lifted the Nelson Mandela Championship title and won on the Web.com Tour and he also caddied for European Tour player Dylan Frittelli.
“We were together for seven years, so it was weird without David this morning and I was a little anxious at the start,” Buhai said. “I bogeyed the first two holes and Johan just quietly told me to trust my shots. As soon as I birdied the fourth, I was back in my routine and we got on with the job.”
Like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and other Nike-sponsored players, Buhai also had to start the season with brand new equipment after Nike pulled out of the market and she switched to Ping woods, Srixon irons, Cleveland wedges and a Srixon ball.
“It was quite an adjustment at the start of the season, and I struggled with a few things,” she said. “My coach, Doug Wood, worked with me at Zwartkop last week and we sorted out the distance issues. The club chances was for the better, though, because now I’m hitting it a club longer. It feels good to be striking the ball with some confidence again and I’m really pleased with the start I’ve made in Cape Town.
First Round Scores
All players RSA unless otherwise specified and amateurs indicated as (AMA):
71 – Ashleigh Buhai
72 – Lauren Taylor (ENG), Stacy Bregman
73 – Hannah Arnold (USA), Tandi von Ruben
74 – Rebecca Hudson (ENG), Lee-Anne Pace, Francesca Cuturi, Anna Sventrup (SWE), Bonita Bredenhann (NAM)
PHOTO 1 – Ashleigh Buhai during round one of the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour
PHOTO 2 – Asheigh Buhai with new bag-man Johan Swanepoel during round one of the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.
Sunshine Ladies Tour Media Liaison