Ashleigh Buhai Holds Off Hyo-Joo Kim To Win ShopRite LPGA Classic

The South African held off the challenge of Hyo-Joo Kim for her second win on the LPGA Tour

Ashleigh Buhai celebrates a birdie putt at the 13th during the final round of the 2023 ShopRite LPGA Classic
Ashleigh Buhai held off the challenge of Hyo-Joo Kim to win the ShopRite LPGA Classic
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ashleigh Buhai is the new ShopRite LPGA Classic champion after the South African held off the challenge of South Korean Hyo-Joo Kim to claim a one-shot win at Seaview Golf Club in New Jersey.

The 34-year-old began the day in third following an excellent 65 on Saturday to leave her three behind surprise leader Dani Holmqvist, with Kim one shot behind the Swede in second. However, Buhai’s final round got off to an excellent start with four birdies in her first five holes, which set the tone for the day.

Buhai hit her fifth birdie of the day on the eighth as she began exert her authority on events. By the same stage, Kim could only manage two under, while Holmqvist’s challenge had begun to fade, with inconsistency creeping into her game to leave her with three birdies and three bogeys with nine to play.

Further birdies at the 10th and 17th kept Kim in contention, but a bogey at the 11th aside, Buhai controlled her nerves as the final hole approached.

After Buhai birdied the 18th to finish with another 65 and leave her on 14 under, Kim needed an eagle to force a playoff, and she very nearly got it, with a delicate chip onto the green that finished inches from the hole. She tapped in for birdie, but by that time, Buhai knew she had done enough and the celebrations began.

As for Holmqvist, she also birdied the final hole to finish T4 - her best ever finish on the LPGA Tour.

Afterwards, Buhai explained she had to work hard for her win and stay strong mentally. She said: "At no point did I think it was mine until now, until it was really confirmed. I did well to stay mentally in it. Stuck to my process and didn't get ahead of myself and think of the outcome at all, and I just trusted the one thing I was trying to do in my golf swing and hopefully that could take care of it."

Buhai’s victory certainly appears to have been coming in recent weeks, after top 10 finishes elsewhere in New Jersey, at the Cognizant Founders Cup and last week’s Mizuho Americas Open.

The win was her fourth since last August, too, when she claimed the AIG Women’s Open title at Muirfield. Following her maiden Major victory, Buhai also won the ISPS Handa Australian Open on the WPGA Tour of Australasia, before a win on the LET in the Investec South African Women’s Open.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.