Sport - Golf - Ashleigh Buhai
Ashleigh Buhai leads South African Women’s Open Image Credit: LET

Ashleigh Buhai (RSA) fired a round of 65 (-7) on day two of the €320,000 Investec South African Women’s Open to lead by four strokes heading into the weekend.

The 2022 AIG Women’s Open champion and number 18 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, backed up her first round of 64 with a round of seven-under to put herself in pole position on 15 under par at Steenberg Golf Club.

It was a flawless day for Buhai who rolled in her first birdie on the fourth before adding two more on holes eight and nine.

Back-to-back birdies on 12 and 13 put the South African into the lead and she extended her advantage with two more birdies on 16 and 17.

Buhai is a former champion of the tournament having won three times previously in 2004, 2007 and 2018.

Dubai based Chiara Noja, who led overnight, sits in second place on the leaderboard on 11 under par after a round of 71 (-1) on day two.

16 year-old Chiara had tough morning conditions with lots of wind and rain but still managed to have four birdies on her scorecard.

‘My front nine the rain was quite torrential, so I was just trying to make pars,’ said the LET winner. ‘I made a birdie on 11 and thought to myself woah how did I do that? I was very pleased with myself.

‘I dropped a stupid two shots on 15 which was a little silly, but apart from that it was a decent day. I couldn’t quite convert some of the putts that I gave myself opportunities for on the back nine. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully, I’ll be drier.’

Four players are in a share of third place with Argentina’s Magdalena Simmermacher, Spain’s Ana Pelaez Trivino, France’s Nastasia Nadaud and Netherlands’ Romy Meekers all on eight-under-par.

It was an excellent day for last year’s runner-up Simmermacher, who produced a round of 67 (-5) to climb up the leaderboard.

It was also a round of 67 (-5) for Pelaez Trivino, who sits fourth in the 2023 Race to Costa del Sol, and only dropped one shot in her second round.

Five players sit in a tie for seventh place with South African duo Kaleigh Telfer and Casandra Alexander, English pair Lily May Humphreys and Gabriella Cowley, as well as Sweden’s Johanna Gustavsson on six-under-par.

The cut fell at even par with 61 players making it through to the final two rounds of the Investec SA Women’s Open.

Second Round Leaders (6238 Yards, Par 72)

1 - A. Buhai (RSA) 64, 65 = 129 (-15)
2 - C. Noja (Ger) 62, 71 = 133 (-11)
3 - M. Simmermacher (Arg) 69, 67 = 136 (-8)
   - AP Trivino (Spain) 69, 67 = 136 (-8)
   - N. Nadaud (Fr) 66, 70 = 136 (-8)
   - R. Meekers (Ned) 66, 70 = 136 (-8)