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Boutier, 29, nets 3rd LPGA victory, wins Drive on Championship

Boutier, 29, nets 3rd LPGA victory, wins Drive on Championship

GOLD CANYON (Ariz.) — Celine Boutier, France beat Georgia Hall of England by birdie on Sunday’s first playoff hole to win the LPGA Drive on Championship.

Boutier made a testy putt at the par-5 17th to force a playoff. This gave Boutier a 4-under 68 and matched Hall (65) at 20 under 268 in the LPGA’s first full-field event.

After playing the 18th hole, neither player was able to find the green with the second shot of the playoff. Boutier, who chipped from almost the same spot in regulation short and to the right of the green, threw to approximately 4 feet. Hall hit her second shot into the greenside bunker and missed her birdie opportunity. This set the scene for Boutier’s winning birdie.

Boutier had mixed feelings when Boutier faced Hall in a playoff against Hall. Hall was a former Solheim Cup teammate.

Boutier stated that she was not looking forward to the match. It’s bittersweet because you want to win, but at same time I think she’s an incredible player. … She is a good friend of mine. So it’s not always easy. But I’m competitive and I want to win. It’s not the most satisfying feeling.

Boutier, 29, won her third LPGA title and became the most successful French player on tour. She also passed Anne-Marie Palli and Patricia Meunier Lebouc. She had won the ISPS Handa Vic Open 2019 and 2021 ShopRite Classic 2021 previously.

Boutier made two birdies at Nos. 2 and 3. She then made a comeback with bogey at No 6. On the back nine, she was able to make a move with birdies at 11 or 13, and none more important that the clutch birdie par putt at the 18th hole, her 72nd.

She said that she was nervous but not as much than I expected or thought. “I felt focused and focused. I had a really difficult chip from the right with a split from right to left. I was trying to get as close to it as possible. The 6-footer or 5-footer was also a bit of pressure.

After three rounds of birdie-filled play at Superstition Mountain Golf Club the final round saw 17 players within three shots of each other and remained true to form.

Hall made the most out of her fourth round by posting one of three 7 under par scores. She also went 6 under on the back 9 to take a clubhouse lead. Hall finished about an hour ahead Boutier.

Hall, who was trying to win her first victory since the 2020 Cambia Portland Classic which came after a win at the Women’s British Open 2018, tried to find consolation in her near miss.

The 26-year-old major winner declared, “Obviously fantastic to be in the position that I was in.” “I knew that I had to shoot low today, but I was still gutted about the playoff.”

Japan’s Ayaka furue finished third at 19 under with a closing 65. South Korea’s Na Rin An finished fourth at 18 under with closing 67. American Ally Ewing (67), South Korea’s Jin Young Ko (68) were another stroke back in fifth.