Evian hangover? Not for Celine Boutier, who wins again at the Women's Scottish Open
The LPGA Tour's European swing belongs to Celine Boutier. After becoming the first Frenchwoman to win the Amundi Evian Championship last week, Boutier claimed the Freed Group Women's Scottish Open with a 15-under-par 273. A closing two-under 70 helped her clinch a two-shot victory, back-to-back wins and a third LPGA triumph in 2023. Here is how she won at Dundonald Links in Ayrshire, Scotland.
Celine Boutier, -15 (final-round 70)
Hyo Joo Kim, -13 (65)
Ruoning Yin, -12 (66)
A Lim Kim, -11 (66)
Maja Stark, -11 (71)
"It's completely crazy," Boutier said. "I would have never imagined that I would be able to win not one, but two tournaments in a row, and yeah, I'm just incredibly in shock. Yeah, I don't think I know what to say or what to think. I think it's just completely out of control. I'm not sure what to think."
What it means
Boutier's European romp continues. She has carded nine consecutive rounds under par on her home continent, dating back to the final round of last year's AIG Women's Open and 13 straight sub-par rounds at the Women's Scottish Open.
And to call it a career year would be an understatement. In addition to her three LPGA victories—most of any player on in 2023—Boutier has three other top-10 finishes on the season. The $300,000 first-place prize money payout puts her past the $2 million mark in earnings for the year. She also now leads the CME Group points list.
She added another historic note to her banner season, as Boutier is the first-ever player to win the week after winning the Evian.
How it happened
Boutier, 29, opened Sunday with a three-stroke lead over Patty Tavatanakit and Maja Stark. Twice, someone got to within a shot of first place, but like Boutier's Sunday at the Evian Resort Course, she never relinquished the lead.
Tavatanakit cut into Boutier's advantage early, birdieing the first and fifth, while Boutier started with a run of pars as the 2021 ANA Inspiration champion cut the lead down to one.
Boutier promptly responded with her first birdie of the day on the sixth, then followed up with another birdie on the ninth to regain a three-shot edge with nine to play.
Past major champions applied the pressure on the back nine. A Lim Kim, who began Sunday eight shots back, birdied six of seven holes from the ninth through the 15th to get to 13 under and two behind Boutier. A miss wide left of the par-4 16th green turned in a bogey, turning the tide of the 2020 U.S. Women's Open winner's run as Boutier strode to the 11th maintaining a clean card.
Yet a smooth-sailing day for Boutier was shaken on the par-5 14th when her three-foot par putt horseshoed around the cup for her first bogey of the day, dropping to 15 under. Tavatanakit kept hanging around alongside Boutier in the final group and moved back within two with four to play.
Both Tavatanakit and Boutier missed the par-3 15th green left, short siding themselves out of the thick Scottish fescue. Tavatanakit went first, and instead of applying pressure, it took Tavatanakit two chips to get onto the putting surface. Boutier calmly knocked her chip to within three feet, getting up-and-down to regain a three-stroke lead once again.
Boutier followed with another bogey two holes later on the 16th, which for a moment gave her a two-shot cushion over 2014 Evian Championship winner Hyo Joo Kim. Despite the South Korean hobbling around Dundonald Links Sunday with a lower leg injury, Kim still posted a bogey-free seven-under 65, tied for the low round of the day. Kim punctuated her scorecard with a 20-foot birdie on the par-5 18th to cut the lead to one, taking the clubhouse lead at 13 under.
Unrattled by her slowly shrinking lead, Boutier delivered the winning putt on the par-4 17th with a right-to-left cross-green 30-foot birdie to reclaim a two-shot lead into the par-5 18th.
"I got a read and tried to give it a run," Boutier said. "I really tried to get it to the hole and tended up going in which was a huge bonus and definitely made me feel better about 18."
Boutier played the 18th unflappably, closing out a stress-free par tap-in to walk away with her second win in Europe in two LPGA tournaments across the pond. As for what might happen if she can make it three victories in a row at the AIG Women's Open next week?
"I think if I win, I may just retire," Boutier joked.
Best of the rest
Minjee Lee posted an eight-over 80 to sit T-132 to begin the week. The tied for the second-worst round of her career put Lee's seven-consecutive top-20 streak in serious jeopardy. Instead, the Australian impressively recovered with rounds of 66-68-68, moving up 121 spots to end up at T-11.
Shot of the day
Two holes after Stark double-bogeyed the par-3 fourth, the Swede aced the sixth to move back to 11 under. Her bulging eyes tell the tale of how impressive the shot was, as it was the only hole-in-one of the week. Stark's T-4 is her best finish since a T-4 at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February.
Hinako Shibuno held a two-shot lead through 36 holes at 12-under with an impressive 64-68 start. Instead of contending for her second career LPGA title, the 2019 AIG Women's Open winner posted a 77-72 weekend to shoot 17 strokes worse than her first two rounds. Shibuno settled for a T-16 finish, her second-best performance of the season.