GALLOWAY, NJ (WNN) — Celine Boutier birdied two of her last three holes for 8-under 63 and won the ShopRite LPGA Classic on Sunday when South Korea’s best two players stumbled from the stretch on Sunday.
Starting the final round five shots behind, Boutier fired six birdies for nine in front of the Windy Bayside course at Seaview to join the growing list of contenders.
The 27-year-old from France put a 12-foot birdie putt at number 16 and then set a target of 14-under 199 with a birdie from 5 feet to 18th par-5.
Jin Young Ko and Inbee Park, who shared the lead going into the final round, could not catch him.
Ko, going for her third win in her last five starts on the LPGA Tour, appeared to be in control until she began missing a putt from a 10-foot boundary.
“I needed more birdies, but I couldn’t,” Ko said. “I wanted a little more luck.”
Park rolled 14th to 13 under in a 20-foot birdie put, and she tied for the lead on the next hole when Ko hit a bunker and missed an 8-foot par.
Boutier was on practice on the green and then in the clubhouse watching TV to see if his score would stand. Park remained in the game with gritty par saves on the 16th and 17th, while Ko missed another opportunity on the 16th by squandering a 10-foot birdie.
On closing par 5, Ko hit a fairway metal to the right of the green, taking him about 70 feet away. She was about 8 feet short. Park didn’t have the length of the two to reach home, and his keel lasted about 10 feet.
Both missed their birdie putts, giving Boutier his second LPGA Tour win, and his first on American soil. His previous win was the 2019 Vic Open in Australia, two weeks before the LPGA Tour was called off by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Looks like I had my first win in Australia a long time ago,” Boutier said. “I’m over the moon right now.”
Canada’s Brooke Henderson birdied for 64 runs in the 18th position and was one shot behind. Parks and Co-Cs closed with 69 each.
Mexico’s Maria Fassi made four straight birdies around the turn and was still in the mix when she was in front of the 18th green. His eagle putt was about 6 feet short to reach 14 under, and he missed the birdie’s chance. Fassi scored 64 runs and finished fifth alone.
Another shot behind was Patty Tvatnakit, the first major winner of the year, scoring 69 and three shots behind.
Boutier scored 70 runs in the second round on Saturday when he did not get a chance to drop his tail. This was not the case in the final round. Starting from the second hole, he made six birdies in an eight-hole stretch and went bogey-free in the final round.
Boutier won $262,500 for the win.
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