Saturday's golf: Ashleigh Buhai takes 5-shot lead at Women's British Open

Associated Press

Muirfield, Scotland — Ashleigh Buhai surged into a five-shot lead at the Women's British Open after shooting a 7-under 64 in the third round on Saturday.

Now she just has to find a way to finish off for her first major victory.

The South African also led this tournament in 2019 at Woburn after the second round but finished fifth, her best result at a major.

Buhai is in a much stronger position at Muirfield after a round that included eight birdies before a lone bogey on the last hole, giving her a 14-under total of 199.

Five of those birdies came on the first seven holes but perhaps the most impressive was on the par-5 17th, when she chipped in from off the green after hitting her tee shot into the rough.

It was the best round of the week despite the wind picking up to blow stronger gusts than during the first two days.

“To be able to shoot that score in those conditions, you have to be able to pat yourself on the back, so much so that I thought I was 6 under, not 7," Buhai said. "So, I was 8 under playing the last, which I think I have to look back, is probably one of the best rounds of golf I’ve ever played.”

Hinako Shibuno of Japan (66) and second-round leader In Gee Chun of South Korea (70) were tied for second. Seven-time major winner Inbee Park and Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden were another two shots back.

Buhai has three victories on the European Tour but has never won an LPGA Tour event. But she's never had a five-shot lead going into the final round, either.

She's doing her best not to look too far ahead, though.

“I’m most proud of the way I just stayed focused and calm (today). That’s all I try to control. I wasn’t thinking of the outcome,” Buhai said. “I only saw a leaderboard for the first time I think when I was on 12, no, 13. And then I just said to myself, ‘OK, that’s fine, you’re in a good spot. Check back in with yourself now and concentrate on what you’re trying to do.’”

PGA Tour

Greensboro, N.C. — The largest cut since the PGA Tour went to top 65 and ties, followed by two delays for storms in the area, kept the Wyndham Championship from finishing the third round Saturday and set up a long final day of the regular season.

Brandon Wu holed out from 147 yards on the par-4 11th hole for an eagle, giving him a share of the lead with Sungjae Im at 12-under par. They were through 11 holes. John Huh and Joohyung “Tom” Kim were one shot behind.

Brandon Wu chips to the ninth hole during the third round of the Wyndham Championship golf tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022.

Only 12 players finished the round.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat had a 7-under 63 and was at 10-under 200.

The eagle was Wu's final shot before the second delay of the third round, and players never returned to the course. The third round was to resume Sunday at 7:30 a.m., and players again will go off both tees — and hope for good weather — to get the tournament in.

At stake Sunday in the final event of the regular season is a shot at some bonus money for Im and Will Zalatoris (who had a 66 and was at 7 under) if they can move into the top 10 in the FedEx Cup.

It's far more important for players to finish in the top 125 and qualify for the lucrative FedEx Cup playoffs that start next week. Finishing in the top 125 also assures a full card for the next season, which starts in September.

Most of the drama was Saturday morning, and it involved plenty of heartache for one player. Austin Smotherman was at 1 under and faced a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 8, his 17th hole of the second round. A birdie would have moved the cut to 2-under 138.

But he missed, and then he missed the green on the ninth and wound up with a double bogey. Smotherman, the equivalent of No. 125 in the FedEx Cup, missed the cut and was virtually certain to fall out of the top 125.

The cut stayed at 1-under 139 and featured 87 players for the weekend. The last time that many players made the cut was in 2018 at the Wells Fargo Championship, before the tour instituted a new policy of top 65 and ties.

Having that many players — Hayden Buckley withdrew Saturday morning after making the cut because of a wrist injury — will make it tougher to finish the final round if any weather arrives.

Oakland University alumnus Brian Stuard was at 10 under with one hole to play, keeping himself in the mix to climb into the top 125 and retain a full card.

Brian Stuard hits to the ninth hole during the third round of the Wyndham Championship golf tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022.

Kim, meanwhile, was hoping to extend his season. The 20-year-old from South Korea, already up to No. 34 in the world, is assured a PGA Tour card for next season. But he can only qualify for the postseason if he wins the Wyndham Championship, which would make him an instant member.

PGA Champions Tour

Calgary, Alberta — Kirk Triplett shot a steady 2-under 68 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Shaw Charity Classic.

Playing in the final group with Paul Goydos and first-round leader Padraig Harrington, the 60-year-old Triplett moved into the lead with back-to-back birdies on the par-5 11th and par-3 12th. He bogeyed the next hole, then closed with five straight pars to post a two-round total of 7-under 133 at Canyon Meadows.

Triplett is an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour Champions, the most recent in 2019.

Goydos made three birdies on the front nine and his lone bogey on the 13th in his round of 68. He was one shot back along with Jerry Kelly (66), who is third in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup standings. Steven Alker, who has a big lead in the Schwab Cup, is skipping the tournament.

Vijay Singh shot 67 and was two shots back.

Harrington, second in the Schwab Cup, was 4 over through 10 holes but rallied for a 72 and was three shots off the lead along with Dean Wilson, Alex Cejka and John Huston.