Twenty years previously Ernie Els played one of the great bunker shots in Open history to put the finishing touches, finally, on a four-hole play-off and add his name to the long and decorated list of Open champions at Muirfield.
The Women’s Open had never visited this corner of East Lothian before, but here we had another South African, Ashleigh Buhai, facing another greenside bunker shot and four holes into a sudden death play-off. The result was the same and a par four was good enough to edge out In Gee Chun who had won her third Major just a few weeks earlier.
For Buhai, at the age of 33, it was her first big one and it came from a very different place. Here the South African recalls how she learnt and adopted the mental skills to get her over the line…
‘I have always been a pretty relaxed player but the frustrations were building up and up and it was a case of the pressure, having done this for 15 years, and not achieving what I thought I would affecting me more and more. All these things off the course were putting pressure on me on the course.
I first started working with my mental coach Duncan McCarthy in November 2021. My long-term swing coach Doug Wood put us in touch. Doug knew my potential but he knew that there was a missing link. He knew that I needed the self-belief.
When Dunc and I first started working together we looked at the non-golfer first, so the human, and then the golfer. For the first three months we didn’t really talk very much about the golf. It was more about getting me the person to back where I wanted to be and taking the pressure off me and getting me to play free golf again. I think that I soon realised how Covid had affected me, not being able to see my family and friends back in South Africa, and once we had got through that then we worked more on the golf course.
It is always hard for a golfer to be more accepting of the outcome of a shot, but I just tried to become better. It was also a case of trying to do one thing right instead of five things right every day. And maybe not go into panic mode as well when things aren’t going right. And the more that we practised that, the easier that it became. Just to focus on getting one thing right a day, one thing that I could control instead of thinking of something else in my swing or something else mentally.
We didn’t meet in person until March 22, we did a lot of on-course work at Palm Beach and all of that work, and the previous video…
Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Golf Monthly RSS Feed…