South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai takes a five shot lead into today's final round of the $7.3 million AIG Women's Open. Image Credit: Supplied

South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai fired an exceptional course record of 64 (-7) in windy conditions to lead by five shots at the end of day three of the $7.3 million AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield, Scotland.

The three time LET winner, who sat in second place overnight after carding a 65, picked up where she left off yesterday with five birdies on her front nine, including four back-to back on holes four through seven.

Buhai continued her fantastic play rolling in birdies on 10 and 14 before chipping in on the 17th for her eighth birdie of the day.

Although the South African finished with a bogey on the last, she reached a total of 14 under par and holds a five shot lead heading into the final day.

“I’m very pleased to be able to shoot that score in those conditions,” said Buhai. “You have to be able to pat yourself on the back, so much so I thought I was six under and not seven. Looking back, it is one of the best rounds of golf I have ever played. I was feeling pretty calm, I have done good work on my swing with my coach for so long now and I feel my lines are where they need to be, and I just need to keep my tempo. If I keep my tempo, then most of the time the club falls where it needs to fall."

Extra chip shots

She added, "I had a good warm-up today, I hit a few extra chip shots because I feel I didn’t chip too well yesterday when I had to, so at least it showed on 17 that that paid off. I don’t think you can ever be comfortable in a Major whether you’re coming from behind or leading. It’s going to be another tough day and the wind is going to blow, which is good I prefer it that way. But they say big leads are often more difficult and I think because you try to maybe play defensively, but if I keep doing what I’m doing and sticking to those steps then hopefully, it will be good enough.”

Japan’s Hinako Shibuno and Korea’s In Gee Chun are sharing second place on nine-under-par having shot rounds of 66 and 70, respectively.

2019 AIG Women’s Open champion Shibuno made six birdies and one bogey on her way to second place and was pleased with her day’s work.

Three-time Major winner Chun, who led at the halfway stage at Muirfield, made three birdies and two bogeys for her round of 70 (-1).

Korea’s Inbee Park and Sweden’s Madelene Sagström sit in a tie for fourth place on seven-under-par having shot rounds of 70 and 71, respectively.

Top 10

Two shots further back on five under and sharing sixth place are Australian duo Steph Kyriacou and Minjee Lee alongside Japan’s Miyuu Yamashita.

While six players round out the top 10 in a tie for ninth place on four under par including 2021 Race to Costa del Sol winner Atthaya Thitikul and 2022 Race to Costa del Sol leader Maja Stark.

Leading Round Three Scores (Par 71, 6,569 Yards)
A. Buhai (RSA) 70. 65. 64. 199.
H. Shibuno (Japan) 65. 73. 66. 204.
I. G. Chun (Kor) 68. 66. 70. 204.
I. Park (Kor) 69. 67. 70. 206.
M. Sagstrom (Swe) 70. 65. 71. 206.