LPGA Tour: Celine Boutier won her maiden ShopRite LPGA Classic with a final-round 63 that included two birdies on the last three holes.
Celine Boutier scored a final-round 63 to beat South Korean players Jin Young Ko and Inbee Park by one stroke at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
Boutier’s second LPGA Tour victory, and her first on American soil, capped off a fantastic few weeks for the French ace, who was a member of Europe’s victorious Solheim Cup team earlier this month before returning to her hometown to win the Ladies Open de France.
The 27-year-old was five strokes behind Ko and Park overnight, but six birdies in eight holes propelled her to the turn in 31 before birdying two of the next three holes to finish 14 under par.
Brooke Henderson finished one shot back with a seven-birdie 64, and Boutier waited for the last groups to arrive, with Ko and Park both requiring a late birdie to force extra rounds.
While Boutier stayed focused on the practice of putting green in preparation for a playoff, Ko and Park both squandered strong birdie opportunities on the final green and settled for rounds of 69 and a share of second place with Henderson, with Maria Fassi a stroke further back after carding a 64.
“It was such a surreal day,” said Boutier, whose 5&4 victory over Mina Harigae in the fifth match of the Solheim Cup singles was critical to Europe’s 15-13 victory. “I knew the course was scoreable this morning, so I knew I needed to shoot a low score to even have a shot.”
“And then I just knew after 18 that I had left everything out on the course, but a couple of groups were left out there and I was expecting to go in a playoff when I saw the last group heading into 18.”
“I was already thinking about the postseason and how I was going to prepare for it.” The fact that neither Jin Young nor Inbee birdied 18 left me a little startled. I’m still a little taken aback by it.
“But it’s been a fantastic tournament. I played pretty well from start to finish, and I’m obviously pleased with how it ended.”
Boutier has been upset all season with her erratic putting, which returned on Saturday when she missed multiple birdie opportunities in a round of 70.
But she rediscovered her range early in the final round on the undulating greens of New Jersey’s Bay Course at Seaview, and her success on the greens speaks well for a strong finish to the LPGA season.
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