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Women's British Open 2019: Ashleigh Buhai Holds 1-Stroke Lead After 1st Round

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 1, 2019

WOBURN, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Ashleigh Buhai of South Africa celebrates on the eighteenth during Day One of the AIG Women's British Open at Woburn Golf Club on August 01, 2019 in Woburn, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Ashleigh Buhai leads the 2019 Women's British Open by one stroke after she shot an opening-round 65 on the Duchess Course at Woburn Golf and Country Club on Thursday.

American Danielle Kang and 20-year-old Hinako Shibuno each held shares of the lead outright at one point but head into Friday's second round trailing Buhai by one shot.

World No. 1 Jin Young Ko birdied the 18th to move up to joint-eighth on four under, while Brooke Henderson shot three under and is one of 10 participants tied in 11th place after Day 1. Georgia Hall also carded 69 and sits at three under after getting her title defence underway.

Former world No. 1 Lydia Ko had an opening round to forget after recording a 76, leaving her at risk of failing to make this weekend's cut unless she can recover from joint-115th.

               

Day 1 Leaderboard (To Par)

1. Ashleigh Buhai (-7)

T2. Danielle Kang (-6)

T2. Hinako Shibuno (-6)

T4. Megan Khang (-5)

T4. Moriya Jutanugarn (-5)

T4. Charley Hull (-5)

T4. Sung Hyun Park (-5)

T8. Jin Young Ko (-4)

T8. Ariya Jutanugarn (-4)

T8. Jeongeun Lee6 (-4)

Via the official Ladies Professional Golf Association website.

            

Recap

South African Buhai has never finished higher than joint-27th at a major tournament, but she's got the start she needs to break that duck at Woburn.

The 30-year-old displayed composure throughout Thursday, and she would hold an even more commanding lead were it not for a bogey on the 11th, one of four par fives on the course.

Buhai registered only one more par (nine) than she did birdies on Day 1, and she capped off her first round with two safe putts, via Sky Sports Golf:

Sky Sports Golf @SkySportsGolf

And that's it for Ashleigh Buhai who finishes her first round in the lead with 6️⃣5️⃣ The South African has never won a major before, is this her time? 📺 Watch all the #AIGWBO action live on Sky Sports Golf https://t.co/sBY1xT24BE https://t.co/2QyKV7Hqx9

Kang and Megan Khang are the only Americans in the top 10 after Day 1, while South Koreans Jin Young Ko, Sung Hyun Park and Jeongeun Lee6 occupy three top-10 places.

Another newcomer out to cause an upset is Shibuno, who failed to record a birdie on any of the first seven holes before saving shots on seven of the last 11 holes:

AIG Women’s British Open @AIGWBO

A great day of golf today, see what Hinako Shibuno, @ANordqvist, @CaroMasson and @daniellekang thought of their day! #AIGWBO #MasterTheElements #FlagHunting #Golf https://t.co/KLLydFTsP5

Charley Hull got off to bright start in search of her home championship, completing a bogey-free first round and finding her rhythm with four birdies over the back nine to finish at five under.

2016 British Open winner Ariya Jutanugarn impressed alongside sister Moriya as they each ended Day 1 inside the top 10 with scores of 68 and 67, respectively.

The younger of the siblings, Ariya, demonstrated her putting credentials on the 14th with a superb finish from long range, via the Ladies Professional Golf Association:

LPGA @LPGA

Boom. 🐦 Ariya @Jutanugarn drains the long birdie putt to get to 3-under. Watch now on the @GolfChannel! https://t.co/vgtSRDd9AJ

The 23-year-old then recorded a spectacular approach at the 18th and clinched a fourth and final birdie of the day to move to four under, three shots off the lead:

AIG Women’s British Open @AIGWBO

2016 Women's British Open Champion Ariya Jutanugarn hits a superb approach at 18 and holes the put to card a 4-under 68! She won the last time the WBO was played at Woburn - can she do it again? #AGIWBO #MasterTheElements #Golf #Sport https://t.co/cJTQDo2XSR

She and sister Moriya did not post a single bogey between them during the opening round, and the Jutanugarn sisters look worthy of attention this weekend if they can maintain that pristine pace.

Buhai will tee off at 2 p.m. BST on Friday as she seeks to defend her spot at the British Open summit and continue her run to a possible maiden major title.