Ashleigh Buhai won a second Australian Open title, whilst Joaquin Niemann claimed his first DP World Tour title as the ISPS Handa Australian Open is held as a joint event for the second time in a row

For the second year in a row, the women's and men's Australian Opens have been held at the same time. The joint tournament allows golf fans to see some of the best golfers playing for different titles on the same course at the same time.

  • Venue: The Australian Golf Club (Thu-Sun) and The Lakes Golf Club (Thu-Fri)
  • Prize money: Min. $3.4mil AUD
  • Sanctioning Tours: ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia, WPGA Tour of Australasia & DP World Tour
  • Field size: Max. 240 players (156 men & 84 women)
  • Format: 72-hole stroke play; cut after 36-holes

Men and women played in alternating groups across both courses over the first two days, then The Australian Golf Club only on the weekend.

There was also the Australian All-Abilities Championship too, which featured the top players from the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability, playing in a 54-hole no cut event.

Buhai makes it five victories in 16 months

Report by Martin Blake, Golf Australia

South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai won her second consecutive ISPS HANDA Australian Open today holding off a fierce charge from Australia’s Minjee Lee by a single shot.

Buhai put on a gutsy display on her way through a difficult, windy final day at The Australian, shooting a three-over-par 75 to cling to victory at nine-under par.

Runner-up Lee, Australia’s world number five, played some brilliant golf and shot a three-under-par 69 in a two-player contest that came down to the last hole, the par-5 18th.

Koreans Jenny Shin and Jiyai Shin tied-third at four-under-par.

Buhai had opened the door for Lee by hitting her second shot into the water left of the 17th green and although she scrambled a bogey, it left her only a shot ahead coming down the last.

But Lee could only make a par 5 at the 18th after finding the left fairway trap, and Buhai laid up short and then wedged to 10 feet to give herself two putts for the win. At the end of a titanic battle, she rolled in a three footer for the Patricia Bridges Bowl.

It is Lee’s best finish in her national Open, an event she craves. She was fifth in 2022 and 2018, third in 2017, seventh in 2015 and as a 17-year-old amateur in 2014, had a share of the lead going into the final day before finishing 11th.

Her time is surely coming.

Starting the final round seven shots behind Buhai, she immediately put down the hammer with a birdie from the greenside bunker at the first and then from a gorgeous short iron shot at the par-3 second.

But each time she made ground, she would make a mistake; a three-putt bogey at the fourth hole, a flared tee shot into the tree line at the sixth. A double bogey at the par-4 13th where her chip from short of the green came back to her feet was crucial.

But even then, she made birdie at 14 and Buhai bogeyed to reduce the margin to two shots.

She’s looking forward to a holiday that will last until February.

“I’m happy but I’m a little unhappy at the same time,” she said.

“I want to reflect, I want to reset my goals. I’ve had a successful year, but I feel like the beginning was not as good as I wanted. There are a few things I want to reflect back on and I’m really proud of how I came back. I felt like I really deserved the wins that I had come the end of the LPGA season. So I feel like this year has been really well deserved, I just want to reward myself with a bit of R&R.”

Lee began the year battling the putting yips but she made plenty over the weekend and two wins in the latter part of the year show that she can become a contender for world No. 1 next year.

“Yeah, I mean, it was hard but I’m not going to say it was the death of me. I was always going to try and fight back to where I knew I can be. I don't know what my potential is yet, so I’m going to try and keep plotting that.”

Buhai showed fortitude in the extreme on the final day, from the time she snap-hooked her opening tee shot into a spectator’s beer cup down the left side of the fairway.

She never looked entirely comfortable and the birdies would not come. Twelve straight pars were followed by a bogey from off the front of the 13th, and she threw in two more dropped shots coming home.

In the end her rounds of 68-70-67-75 gave her a second national title to go with the one she claimed at Victoria last year.

"I said to my caddie: 'I know Minjee's going to come, but she has to chase. I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. That's all I can control'."

Australians Hannah Green and Stephanie Kyriacou rallied on the final day to finish tied-fifth while Adelaide’s Caitlin Peirce was the top amateur in tied-seventh.

First DP World title for Joaquin Niemann

In the men's event, it was Chile's Joaquin Niemann who, after shooting a final round of five-under-par, took it to a play-off with Japan's Rikuya Hoshino, which he won with an eagle on the second play-off hole on the 18th.

Talking of his victory Niemann said:

"It means a lot. I wanted to win so bad for a long time. The last one I have is in Riviera, and yeah, I mean this season wasn’t the best season that I play on LIV. I haven’t had a great finish and after the season I kind of start working a lot harder with my coach and all my team and and started seeing a bit of results.

"I mean, I wanted to play more golf because I felt like I was kind of like finding my game. It was getting better. I was hitting better, putting better and I was like ‘I want to go out and play and see if it’s true, you know?’ 

"Then I had these two weeks in Australia and actually was a really easy decision, I was in Chile, flight from Chile to Sydney which is really good and obviously there are world ranking points, which I think I need a few now and the open spots here this week, so I was really happy to see some golf."

With his win, LIV Golfer Niemann secured a spot in the 2024 Open Championship, alongside Hoshino and Australia's Adam Scott.

There was an Australian victory this weekend as Lachlan Wood took home the All Abilities title, with Ireland's Brendan Lawlor three shots behind.

Find out more about the ISPS Handa Australian Open here.