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August 23, 2022

Ashleigh Buhai

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: All right, looks like we're ready to go. I'm here with Ashleigh Buhai, the most recent champion of the AIG Women's Open. You're now a major champion. Does it feel any different showing up to your next tournament and saying I'm a major champion?

ASHLEIGH BUHAI: It was definitely a different feel when I walked in yesterday. Obviously hadn't seen a lot of people, so the first 45 minutes was quite cool. Everybody obviously congratulating me and my caddie.

And then was trying to just slowly get back into it. I've touched a club once since the tournament, so there was a little rust yesterday; but today felt a lot better.

THE MODERATOR: Awesome. Just now that you've had ten days at home to sort of rest and reflect, does the victory feel any different than when you were asked right at the moment?

ASHLEIGH BUHAI: Yes. I think the emotions straight afterwards, you don't really know what's happened. It just hits you and then you have a few days to reflect. I've had some time and managed to watch some the highlights. Fast forward and kind of watched the playoff. Actually more wanted to see my husband's reaction because everybody was talking about him and how funny it was.

So, yeah, starting to settle in. Still been doing a lot of media, which I have got to manage my time, and especially with the time change in South Africa been waking up early and doing that stuff. A little bit more obligations.

THE MODERATOR: Yeah. Does it change your mentality at all? You know, build up more confidence or change your mentality as you go into a tournament after having a major victory? Change your approach or anything?

ASHLEIGH BUHAI: Look, it changes the way you feel for sure. You know you can win now. You always believe in yourself, the fact that you can pull it off, and even more so the way I did it. You know, I think if, say, 15 hadn't happened and I come up with a two-shot lead and it's taken in that way it would've been memorable, but I think the way the playoff went down, it proves that when things are really tough I've got that extra a little bit in me to dig down deep and try and get it done.

THE MODERATOR: Yes, you do. Open to questions in the room.

Q. Do you find your notoriety going up when you've been walking around here this week? Do people say, there she is, that's the one?

ASHLEIGH BUHAI: Yes, definitely. Even on Sunday I was just in the parking area and I was backing up and the lady a like, Hey, and I thought I had done something wrong, and she's like, You just won The Open Championship, didn't you? She was just saying congratulations.

Yeah, few more people have definitely noticed me. Few more autographs to sign. It's a pretty cool feeling to have.

Q. At that tournament you just mentioned the 15th hole where you made the triple bogey. How important was it for your caddie? What did he do to kind of keep you grounded at that time?

ASHLEIGH BUHAI: Yeah, she, Tanya. She just said to me, All right, we got three holes. Let's get back on it. 15 kind of happened so quickly that I don't think I even really had time to process what had happened, which I think was a good thing.

I had done so much well throughout the week, and like I said, if I made that triple bogey early on in the week as opposed to then, probably wouldn't be talking about it as much now. I said to myself, I never lost the lead, so that was a positive that I just had to keep in my mind, too.

Q. You kind of had a tough start to the season. I think you missed three of your first five cuts. I think the top was a tied for 51; LOTTE Championship you finished fourth.


Q. When you start that way, does that change your mindset? You just keep grinding it out? You make changes?

ASHLEIGH BUHAI: Yeah, well, not many people know, but the reason I started the season badly was I was really sick. I was unwell. Went back to South Africa, got a bacterial stomach infection called H Pylori. We couldn't diagnose it for a month.

I shouldn't have even probably played in Florida, but because it was close to where I lived I tried to. I had no energy. I only started to feel better probably from about April.

They say things happen for a reason. I wasn't supposed to play LOTTE, but I had some passport issues and I missed Kia so I had to add it to the schedule, and everything started it kind of turn around from LOTTE.

Q. Have you played the golf course here and can you give us your impressions?

ASHLEIGH BUHAI: Yes, I played nine holes this morning. Obviously very soft from all the rain, but it's set up really good. This tournament, I mean, before Evian we said it was our fifth major, that's how it's set up, that how it feels like.

To be back in Canada again and to have that feel, it's playing really good. I think we'll get some more rain so I think it's going to pretty much play like it is the rest of the week.

THE MODERATOR: I like what you said, that a lot of people treat this like a major. It's one of our biggest tournaments that isn't a major. Obviously going to have that feel of the crowds and have that major feel a little bit. Does that excite you knowing you can play in that environment? Will it help you?

ASHLEIGH BUHAI: Yeah, definitely. I've always loved playing in front of crowds, and in Canada we've always had phenomenal support. Hoping they'll come out in numbers and we have a great weekend, and even Thursday and Friday.

THE MODERATOR: Obviously game plan is just as usual, same as AIG?

ASHLEIGH BUHAI: That would be nice.

THE MODERATOR: Talk strategy at all?

ASHLEIGH BUHAI: No, I mean, I think you need to be aggressive this week. This morning it played a little longer, but hopefully it'll dry out a little bit. Like I said, I'm honestly not expecting too much out of this week only because I haven't done much.

Also, I have been playing through an injury, so it gave me time a little bit but still not 100%. So we'll see. This week I felt like just start getting back into it and let the rust come off. I will try and obviously cope and emulate the stuff I did at the open.

THE MODERATOR: Is David here to cheer you on this week?

ASHLEIGH BUHAI: He's working, thank goodness. I think we were both ready to get back to work. We had some good celebrations. He caddies for Lee6, so he's happy to be back out for sure.

THE MODERATOR: Yeah, the cameras love him.

ASHLEIGH BUHAI: They do, yeah.

THE MODERATOR: Any questions on Zoom? All right, thank you.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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