South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai recovered from throwing away a five-shot lead to beat South Korea’s In Gee Chun in a dramatic play-off at the AIG Women’s Open to seal her first major win.

Buhai parred the fourth play-off hole after Chun bogeyed to seal victory at 21:10 BST in Muirfield.

The 33-year-old’s commanding lead at the start of the day evaporated as she triple-bogeyed the par four 15th.

That saw her drop back alongside three-time major winner Chun at 10 under.

The pair could not be separated on the first three holes of the play-off, matching each other with par, bogey, par.

Buhai finally settled things with a brilliant up and down shot out of the bunker to set up a tap-in for par while Chun, who found a bunker off the tee, failed to match.

‘It’s life-changing’

Buhai is the first South African to win the tournament since 1979 and pockets $1.095m (£907,000) from the purse of $7.3m (£6.05m).

“I am so proud of myself, how I dug deep to get into the play-off,” said Buhai, who joins compatriots Gary Player (1959) and Ernie Els (2002) in winning a major title at Muirfield.

“It’s so difficult to put into words right now. It might only hit me in a few days but obviously I’m very proud.

“We’re a very small country so to be able to produce quite a few major champions it’s quite something, and now for me to be a female South African major winner I’ve got no words – it’s life-changing.”

Chun, 27 added: “I never gave up, and gave it my all. Ashleigh played a brilliant bunker shot and she deserved it. I am very happy for her.”

Story of the round

Buhai, the world number 84, had earlier scored a four-over-par 75 and had been three ahead with four holes to play before her late collapse.

Chun, who won the Women’s PGA Championship in June, had been tied for second place overnight on nine under and started strongly as she birdied three of the first nine holes.

But two bogeys on her back nine saw her sign for a one-under-par 70.

Japan’s Hinako Shibuno, who also started the day on nine under, had a mixed round that included an eagle on the par-five fifth. She was still in contention on the 18th needing a birdie, but a par saw her score 71 to finish on nine under in third.

Maguire records best major finish

Ireland’s Leona Maguire had the round of the day as she shot a 66 to finish tied for fourth at seven under alongside Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom and Australia’s Minjee Lee.

Maguire, who secured her best finish to date in a major said: “I don’t think I could have played much better today. Had a few chances coming in, would have been nice to hole a couple more putts, but it was tough out there and definitely my best golf of the week so far.”

England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Scotland’s Louise Duncan were the best placed Brits tied for 19th on one under, while English duo Charley Hull and Georgia Hall finished on level par with compatriot Mel Reid on three over.