A playoff seemed inevitable at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. Celine Boutier was in the dressing room at Seaview Resort when she was 14. Jin Young Ko and Inbee Park, both under 13, took 18th place on the Bay Course, a short par 5 that offers eagles, let alone birdies. After Park hit their approach blows, he had an eight-foot to tie Boutier, Ko a seven-foot.
Parks putting is so good that Boutier was sure a birdie was as good as done: “I thought I shouldn’t even watch it go in,” said Boutier. Remarkably, Park missed. Then Ko stepped up to her putt. Surely players # 3 and # 2 wouldn’t miss the world one after the other?
But they did, Kos Putt moved to the left of the hole. And with that, Boutier had won her second LPGA Tour event. Nobody was more shocked than she.
“I was thinking of going to the playoffs and having to prepare for it,” said Boutier. “And then just the fact that neither Jin Young nor Inbee Birdied 18 have really left me, I don’t know, kind of stunned. I’m still a bit surprised. “
Still, Boutier deserves credit for her win, despite the unlikely misses from Ko and Park. The 27-year-old French woman hit all but two fairways on Sunday and only needed 26 putts to complete her 63-finals at the 54-hole event.
Although Boutier’s first LPGA win, the 2019 ISPS Handa Vic Open, was more than two years ago, Boutier’s win in recent weeks comes as no surprise.
Boutier played on the European Solheim Cup team in defeating Team USA at Inverness Club. Boutier went 1-1-1 in their games. Although she wasn’t as dominant as her 4-0-0 win at Gleneagles two years earlier, she played well and scoring points for the winning team boosted her confidence.
“I think it gave me a lot of energy. So my next tournament after Solheim was the French Open, which I won too, so it helped me for the French Open, ”said Boutier. “And then the French Open helped me gain more confidence at the LPGA these weeks. I just feel like I have really good momentum and I hope I can continue until the end of the season. “
The win at the Lacoste Ladies French Open was Boutier’s third win on the Ladies European Tour. With her second LPGA title she connects Patricia Meunier-Lebouc and Anne Marie Palli as the most victorious French women in LPGA history.
Boutier, who graduated from Duke University in 2016, is humble about achievement.
“Patricia won a major so I feel like I’m not even at that level,” said Boutier. “But it’s just so great to be able to bind them. We don’t have that many French players out here on the tour, so it’s always great and super proud to represent my country every week, and hopefully a lot more players from France. “
Right now she’s trying to come to terms with what happened on the 18th.
“Just unreal,” said Boutier. “I still can’t believe they both missed.”