LPGA Tour: Celine Boutier clinches one-shot victory at ShopRite LPGA Classic | Golf News

Two birdies over the last three holes cap a closing 63 which proved just enough for Solheim Cup star Celine Boutier to claim her first victory on US soil at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

Last Updated: 03/10/21 11:54pm

Celine Boutier with her second LPGA Tour title

Celine Boutier with her second LPGA Tour title

Celine Boutier fired a superb closing 63 to overhaul South Korean stars Jin Young Ko and Inbee Park and clinch a one-shot victory at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

Boutier’s second LPGA Tour win, and her first on US soil, continued a remarkable few weeks for the French ace having been a member of Europe’s winning Solheim Cup team early last month, after which she returned to her homeland to win the Ladies Open de France.

The 27-year-old was five shots behind Ko and Park overnight, but six birdies in eight holes saw her race to the turn in 31 before she birdied two of the last three holes to post 14 under par in the clubhouse.

Boutier fired a closing 63 to clinch a one-shot win

Boutier fired a closing 63 to clinch a one-shot win

Brooke Henderson finished one shot behind after returning a seven-birdie 64, and Boutier faced an anxious wait for the final groups to come in, with Ko and Park both needing a late birdie to force extra holes.

While Boutier kept herself focused for a playoff on the practice putting green, Ko and Park both missed good birdie chances on the final green and settled for rounds of 69 and a share of second place with Henderson, with Maria Fassi a further stroke adrift after carding a 64.

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“It was such a surreal day,” said Boutier, whose 5&4 win over Mina Harigae in match five of the Solheim Cup singles was crucial to Europe’s 15-13 victory. “This morning I knew the course was scorable, so I knew I had to shoot a low score to even have a chance.

“And then after 18 I just knew 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 coming into 18.

Jin Young Ko missed a good chance at the last to force a playoff

Jin Young Ko missed a good chance at the last to force a playoff

“I was already in my mind going into the playoff and having to prepare for that. And then just the fact that neither Jin Young or Inbee birdied 18 really left me kind of stunned. I’m still a little bit surprised about it.

“But it’s honestly been a great tournament. I played really solid from start to finish, and I’m super happy with the way it ended obviously.”

Boutier has been frustrated with her inconsistent putting throughout the season, an issue which resurfaced on Saturday when she missed several birdie opportunities in a round of 70.

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But she found her range early on in the final round on the undulating greens of the Bay Course at Seaview in New Jersey, and her performance on the greens bodes well for a big finish to the LPGA season.

“I just feel like my putting has been something that’s been the most inconsistent in my game this year,” she added. “I feel like I’ve been playing so solid, but if my putting was better I would give myself more chances.

“The fact that I was able to putt this well today on the last round definitely gives me a lot of satisfaction and confidence going forward.”

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