• Ashleigh Buhai column: Asian ‘Adventure’

    Ashleigh Buhai
    Ashleigh Buhai

    You probably don’t know this about me, but I have a gluten intolerance – it’s called coeliac disease – and I’m allergic to wheat and soy, so when it comes to food and diet, the annual trip to Asia isn’t one of my most enjoyable.

    The food options diminish quite a bit for me in that part of the world, so I do lose my sense of humour from time to time. Adding to my grumpiness were the strict Covid-19 protocols.

    We were Covid-19 tested three times a week, and we were only allowed to go from the hotel to the golf course and back due to the ‘bubble’ procedures.

    I was also not allowed to share a room with my husband David as he caddies for another player, so it was quite strange being at the same tournaments and only seeing each other in passing at the golf course.

    Although the two weeks in Asia tested our patience it was a great opportunity and reward for playing well the year before. I also have to remind myself that it’s a privilege being able to travel the world and play golf, so I’m not complaining, but rather giving you a look into how things are.

    The tournaments in Asia have fields of 64 players and there’s no cut, with guaranteed prize money, fully paid business class flights and hotel accommodation picked up by the sponsors.

    The first tournament was the HSBC Championship in Singapore. The week was a rollercoaster ride where I had 15 birdies but far too many bogeys. Although I finished towards the back on the field on five over par I was actually upbeat because lots of birdies meant I was finally starting to make putts again.

    The second week we were in Pattaya for the Honda Thailand LPGA Championship. We had scorching hot temperatures of 32deg C with a real feel in the 40s. Due to the high humidity it was going to be a week of managing your energy levels well.

    With it being Thailand’s monsoon and rainy season, the course played soft and wet which meant the scores were going to be low. I played well with scores of 67, 69, 68 and 71 to finish the week in 17th place.

    I’m really happy and feel like my game is starting to trend in the right direction again. I was disappointed to not be able to play this year at the Investec SA Women’s Open due to a busy LPGA Tour schedule but hopefully the tournament will move back to March in 2022 and I’ll be able to play again.

    *This column first appeared in the June print issue of Compleat Golfer

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