Golf: France's Boutier captures LPGA ShopRite title, Saso finishes in 19th place

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 04 2021 09:12 AM

Celine Boutier of Team Europe hits a shot on the fifteenth hole during the morning foursomes of the 2021 Solheim Cup at Inverness Club. File photo. Raj Mehta, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.
Celine Boutier of Team Europe hits a shot on the fifteenth hole during the morning foursomes of the 2021 Solheim Cup at Inverness Club. File photo. Raj Mehta, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.

NEW YORK -- France's Celine Boutier matched the low round of her career with a bogey-free eight-under par 63 on Sunday to capture the LPGA ShopRite Classic, winning her first US title.

The 27-year-old closed with two birdies in her last three holes to finish the 54-hole event on 14-under 199 at Seaview Bay in Galloway, New Jersey.

That was enough for a one-stroke victory over world number two Ko Jin-young and third-ranked Park In-bee, both of South Korea, and Canada's Brooke Henderson.

"I just made a lot of putts today," Boutier said. "I played really solid, gave myself a lot of opportunities and dropped a lot of putts."

Boutier's only other LPGA title came at the 2019 Women's Victoria Open in Australia.

"It's unbelievable," Boutier said. "My first win in Australia was so long ago. It was time for another one. I'm just over the moon."

Filipina golfer Yuka Saso, the reigning U.S. Open champion, finished in a tie for 19th place with a 7-under 206. Bianca Pagdanganan was one stroke behind and finished at joint 27th.

Born in France to Thai parents, Boutier has won three Ladies European Tour titles, the most recent two weeks ago at the Women's French Open.

Boutier birdied six of the first nine holes to leap into contention, then birdied the par-4 16th and closed with a six-foot birdie putt at the par-5 18th to seize a one-stroke clubhouse lead with Ko and Park one stroke back.

The South Korean stars each parred the par-3 17th and needed birdies at 18 to force a playoff.

Park was short of the green but pitched from short rough to eight feet past the hole.

Ko reached the green in two but was on the opposite side from the hole and left her long-range eagle bid almost 10 feet short.

Park slid her birdie putt a foot past the cup and Ko's putt went left of the hole, giving Boutier the title.

Boutier watched it happen on a television in the locker room.

"It was the perfect place to chill and watch the end," Boutier said. "I couldn't find a TV anywhere else."

Mexico's Maria Fassi fired a career-low 64 to grab a career-best LPGA finish of fifth on 201, one stroke ahead of Thailand's Patty Tavatanakit.

"It was awesome," Fassi said. "We did such good work today, all week really. Just stayed true to our game plan. It was happy to see it pay off. I've been waiting for this."

Ko missed a chance for her third win of the season after triumphs at Dallas in July and Portland two weeks ago.

Park, ending a six-week layoff this week, sought her 22nd career LPGA title and first since March's Kia Classic.

The season continues next week with Ko defending her title at the Founders Cup in West Caldwell, New Jersey, before the LPGA makes a reduced Asia swing to South Korea and Japan ahead of next month's season-ending Tour Championship.

Events in China and Taiwan were canceled due to COVID-19 issues.

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