Celine Boutier keeps nerve, raises game, smiles

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It has been a surreal summer for Celine Boutier. First, it was Europe's triumph at the Solheim Cup and now glory at the Ladies Open de France in front of a home crowd. Photo: Tristan Jones/LET
It has been a surreal summer for Celine Boutier. First, it was Europe's triumph at the Solheim Cup and now glory at the Ladies Open de France in front of a home crowd. Photo: Tristan Jones/LET

Celine Boutier is the 2021 Lacoste Ladies Open de France champion after securing victory in the most dramatic of fashions at Golf Club du Medoc.

The two-time Solheim Cup winner kept her nerve on a frantic final day in Bordeaux, before sinking a fantastic birdie putt on the last to take victory by a single shot ahead of Scotland’s Kylie Henry.

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India’s Tvesa Malik shot another 70 to finish T12 for the week with scores of 69, 70, 70 at 4-under 209.

Boutier and Henry were neck and neck for much of Saturday, with the lead exchanging hands throughout the day, before heading down the 18th tied on -10 apiece.

But with Henry lying short with her second shot on the final hole, Boutier made it to the green in two, before rolling in a 20-foot putt with her third shot to send the locals into rapturous celebrations.

 

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“I couldn’t have hoped for a better ending,” Boutier said. “It was a special week all round. All five of my family were here supporting me which is quite rare, and my brother was caddying for me so I feel grateful and blessed to be able to share it with them.

“I was a bit frustrated when I dropped shots because they could have been avoided, but I kept patient because I knew I was putting well so I had to keep giving myself opportunities.”

Boutier’s day got off to a blistering start in Bordeaux, as she extended her one-shot overnight lead to two with a brace of birdies on holes two and three, while Henry also picked up a shot on the second to keep in touch.

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Both players birdied the seventh, before the Scot ended the front nine with another birdie to pull herself within one, before the Frenchwoman made back-to-back bogeys to see the pendulum sway the Glaswegian’s way.

But the 27-year-old wasn’t to be denied a first LET title in three years, as she drew herself back level on there 14th, before sealing the deal in the perfect manner of the final hole of the tournament.

It was a special moment for Boutier, who made her first professional appearance at the tournament back in 2016 – before finishing second to Nelly Korda in 2019 –  and she was delighted to take the victory in front of her home crowd.

 

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“I’m still in shock from the summer because it’s all been so surreal with the Solheim Cup victory and now this,” she continued.

“I came close to winning two years ago so I’ve had the win here on my mind for a while, so I wanted to improve my performance this year, so I’m over the moon with this win.”

It wasn’t to be for Henry, who performed valiantly throughout the three days in Bordeaux – with just one bogey in her last 36 holes – but she was pleased with her performance in France nonetheless.

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“I’m really happy with how I played, I feel like I hit a lot of good shots on the back nine but I just didn’t manage to make any birdies,” Henry said.

“Second place isn’t what you dream of but I’m still really happy because it is a good result and I’m happy to be back in contention.

“I didn’t make any bogeys so I’m really happy with that because it shows that it was really solid golf. I gave it my best but that putt on the last from Celine was outstanding – and that’s why she’s a Solheim Cup player, she was brilliant.”

 

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It was a fantastic day for the home talents at Golf Club du Medoc, with two more French stars finishing in the top five, as Didriksons Skafto Open winner Pauline Roussin Bouchard secured the round of the day 66 (-5) to see her finish on -8 for the tournament.

Alongside her in a tie for third place was compatriot Anais Meyssonier, with the leader after day one shooting 69 (-2) on the final day to also see her finish three shots behind the leader, while Magdalena Simmermacher continued to impress with a second top five finish in her last three tournaments.

 

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After a succession of brilliant performances on tour, Simmermacher finds herself knocking on the door of the top ten of the Race to Costa del Sol, with the Argentinian sitting in 11th spot on 803.30 points.

Despite not playing this week, Atthaya Thitikul still leads the way at the top of the standings with 2,887.46 points, with Steph Kyriacou and Sanna Nuutinen making up the top three.

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