Team Buhai featuring South Africans Ashleigh Buhai, Stacy Lee Bregman, Hayley Davis of England and Spanish amateur Ignacio Morillo battled their way to a play-off victory at the Aramco Team Series after a thrilling final day in Sotogrande.
The Aramco Team Series’ unique format is built for excitement as teams of three LET pros partner with amateurs to go head-to-head for a share of $1million – prize money only the professionals can win.
And as strong winds continued to blow across La Reserva Club, it took a play-off after a chipped-in birdie on the last to separate the tournament’s two leading fourballs after 54 holes at La Reserva Club – and three days packed with twists, turns and amateur heroics.
Team Buhai and eventual runners-up Team Strom (Linnea Strom, Jenny Haglund, Agathe Sauzon and amateur Alessandro Anzelmo) came in at 35-under-par, forcing a late evening deciding hole.
Both team captains stepped-up, but it would be Ashleigh Buhai’s par that trumped Strom’s bogey to bag the second Aramco Team Series title of this year’s Ladies European Tour season.
Buhai said: “It was a team effort. We’ve all played our part this week. For me personally, our back nine turned even and I thought we had to get going if we wanted to have a chance. Luckily, we managed to do that.”
On amateur team-mate, Spaniard Ignacio Morillo, Buhai continued: “Ignacio was great – such great company. He was a little nervous today but still came in when we needed him.”
Countrywoman Stacy Lee Bregman – who holed the critical 54th-hole birdie that eventually took the tournament to its concluding play-off – said: “I’ve been practicing [that shot]. I had a feeling I was going to use it at some point and knew on 18 it was the perfect shot. When I hit it I knew it was good and it was just a magical moment. It’s surreal.”
Hayley Davis added: “It was a lot of fun. It was great playing with these three. We all played well as a team and came in when we needed to. It’s been a great week.”
In the tournament’s individual scoring, US star Alison Lee settled for a one-under-par 71 to take her to 15-under for the tournament, five shots clear of Buhai, who herself finished second on ten-under.
That performance secured Lee’s first ever professional title, following two opening round 65s.
“I honestly can’t even describe in words how happy I am.,” said Lee, who led by seven heading into today’s final rounds and was visibly emotional after finishing with a par to confirm her maiden win.
“I can’t wait to call my parents. The last three weeks I’ve been overseas, and I’ve known they’ve been up all night watching me play, which is so heartwarming. I’ve been through a lot with golf. There were times I just thought about giving up, having been years I’ve lost my card and had to go back to Q-school. My parents have supported me so much and I can’t wait to call them!”
The 26-year-old continued: “I obviously had a seven-shot lead coming into today. I didn’t want to think about it too much and get ahead of myself. And it was another difficult day out there with the win. It felt like it was blowing harder today, honestly. But I just did my best to try and take it one shot at a time, stay confident and not get too down on myself and make as many birdies for the team obviously. I felt like I could have played a lot better today, but happy with my round.”
Asked if she had ever started questioning if she would bag a professional title, Lee added: “It kind of gets at you. I’ve played with a lot of the girls out here since I was 15, 16, and I feel like I had a very good junior career and college career, and you just kind of question yourself: ‘When’s it going to happen for me?’ You’re waiting for it to happen. Everyone out here works hard, everyone wants to win, the competition is fierce, so it just gets to the point where you wonder when it’s going to happen.
“I would say in the last few months I’ve felt really good on the course. I had a lot of good rounds, a lot of good holes, but for some reason I always had one round or a few holes here and there where I’d make a a mistake that would take me out of contention. It has been really frustrating – there has been weeks when I was top five going into the weekend then just blowing it. It was a huge learning experience and I felt it was all going to come together soon, it was just a matter of instead of getting in my own head and waiting for that bad round to happen, just moving forward, trusting myself and playing golf. Hopefully I can keep doing this going forward.”
Lee and Buhai were followed Germany’s Karolin Lampert on seven-under-par, Australia’s Steph Kyriacou one back, and England’s Charley Hull on five-under-par.
Next for the Aramco Team Series is its third event of the season, to be held in New York, October 14-16.
For more information, visit aramcoteamseries.com