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Iconic bunker shot on fourth extra hole clinches Women’s Open win for Ashleigh Buhai

Throughout golf history, there are many iconic shots that have secured major championship victories.

Ashleigh Buhai now has one of them.

On the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff against In Gee Chun at the AIG Women’s Open, it appeared Buhai may finally clinch a dragged-out victory with darkness looming at Muirfield. Her drive fell on the fairway, where Chun found hers in the right fairway bunker.

But Buhai’s approach sliced into the par-4 18th’s greenside bunker.

With Chun facing a nearly 20-foot putt for par, Buhai needed to successfully get up and down — and she nearly pulled off the victory right then and there.

Full-field scores from the AIG Women’s Open

Buhai whipped her bunker shot on the heart of the green, and the ball rolled just over a foot from the hole.

“My caddie said to me on the last one, I don’t mean to brag, but she said, ‘Show them why you’re No. 1 in bunkers this year,’” Buhai told NBC Sports after her victory. “She gave me the confidence. And maybe it also has something to do with Muirfield and South Africans and bunker shots.”

Buhai was referencing fellow South Africans Ernie Els and Gary Player. Player won The Open at Muirfield in 1959 and Els did the same in 2002. The signature moment of Els’ win at Muirfield was his blast out in No. 13’s greenside pot bunker.

Buhai’s all-time shot, though, was nearly an all-time collapse.

The 33-year-old came into the final round with a five-shot lead. Entering the 15th hole, that lead was three, however, it was there she carded a triple bogey and exited tied for the lead with Chun at 10 under.

It would take until the fourth playoff hole for Buhai to break that tie.

Chun missed her par attempt to extend the playoff and Buhai tapped in to notch her first major victory, while also becoming Muirfield’s first-ever female major winner.

Though the road to victory may have been a little longer than Buhai may have hoped, everything aligned for her to claim an indelible major-championship-winning-moment with the winner’s trophy.