Celine Boutier, France’s greatest LPGA player, wins Maybank Championship in epic nine-hole(!) playoff

October 29, 2023

Yong Teck Lim

This was the inaugural playing of the LPGA's Mayabank Championship, and it has already become a memorable one. For the third week in a row, the LPGA Tour needed a playoff to determine a winner. And this one, at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club in Malaysia, nearly set the record for the longest playoff in tour history. Celine Boutier and Atthaya Thitikul played nine extra holes before Boutier was able to hoist the trophy—and position herself to cap a career year in the process.


Celine Boutier, -21 (64)

Atthaya Thitikul, -21 (68)

Jasmine Suwannapura, -19 (70)

Rose Zhang, -19 (71)

Peiyun Chien, -18 (68)


“I knew she wasn't going to make a mistake, so I had to go for it and give myself the best chances for birdies,” Boutier said of Thitikul. “I feel like she's an amazing player, and so I feel like it was definitely nerve-racking, but I just feel very happy to have held on for that long.”

What it means

Boutier is now the only player on tour with four wins in 2023. She has surpassed Lilia Vu in the Rolex Player of the Year award race with three tournaments remaining, earning 30 points for the win after starting the week 27 points back of Vu, who did not play in the event.

“I definitely wanted to win that award at some point in my career. I really did not expect it to be this season,” Boutier said. “I just feel like it's so hard to just be able to win already and just to be able to have the chance to have this award at the end of the season is something that I definitely don't take for granted.”

Earlier this season, Boutier earned the title of winningest Frenchwoman in LPGA history: Patricia Meunier-Lebouc and Anne-Marie Palli each have two LPGA wins. The Mayabank Championship is Boutier’s sixth career LPGA win. She is undoubtedly the best female golfer to ever come out of France. Not a bad milestone to reach before your 30th birthday, which she celebrates Nov. 10.

How it happened

Like many times in 2023, this tournament needed a extra holes to find its victor. This was the 12th playoff of the season, and it was the longest at nine holes. (Back in 1972, Jo Ann Pretince and Sandra Palmer went 10 holes at the Corpus Christi Civitan Open, so though the Mayabank Championship was close, it wasn’t an LPGA record.) The playoff was made even longer by a weather delay after the first playoff hole.


Atthaya Thitikul was gunning for a third career LPGA title at the age of 20, but lost on the ninth(!) playoff hole.

Yong Teck Lim

During the delay, Boutier found a quiet spot in the locker room and did her best to stay in her own "bubble." She needed to conserve her energy. She had started the final round five shots back and shot her second 64 of the week to vault up the leaderboard. She would’ve won it during regular play, too, if one last birdie try on 18 hadn’t lipped out.

After 92 minutes of waiting, Boutier and Thitikul went back out on the course, trading birdies and pars. On the ninth playoff hole, both players had put their approach shots to within 10 feet, Thikikul missed and Boutier made her birdie putt to win the championship.

Boutier is now two-for-two in playoffs in 2023: She defeated Georgia Hall at the LPGA Drive On Championship in March. That playoff was settled in a more timely fashion, lasting only one hole.

Best of the rest


Yong Teck Lim

A few spots down the leaderboard, Rose Zhang finished T-4. It’s her first top-five finish since winning her pro debut in June. That first victory was the stuff of legend, and the type of storyline we dream about. Who wouldn’t want to root for the amateur star turned pro sensation? But the tricky thing about winning your first pro tournament is that it makes people wonder, Could she win them all? The expectations for Zhang have been high—and appropriately so, she has the game and potential to warrant it. But a lot of expectation was heaped on her when she had only been a professional for a few moments. In the months following that win, she’s had a couple missed cuts, three top-10s, her Solheim Cup debut (0-2-1) and has travelled the world. In Malaysia, she got herself in contention again and found confidence there.

“I felt like it was a really incredible week for me,” Zhang said. “It's been a while since I've been in contention, in the top 10, and I just feel really lucky to be in that position. I still have lots to learn, lots to improve on, but I feel like it's all up from here.”