Ladies European Tour Rookie Member Céline Boutier (Montrouge, France) made a birdie on the first play-off hole to win the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic on Sunday at The Links at Stoney Point in South Carolina.
Boutier posted an even-par 72 in the final round to tie with Paola Moreno (Cali, Colombia) after 72 holes at 10-under, 278. Moreno made bogey on the first extra hole and Boutier earned the first-place check of $30,000, to move from 20th to second on the Volvik Race for the Card money list.
“I’m just pretty relieved that the play-off is over, it was pretty stressful for me,” admitted Boutier. “I’m really proud of how I handled the pressure this week.”
Prior to the season, Boutier made it a goal to win on the Symetra Tour. She just didn’t know it would come this early in the season.
“I’m a little surprised it happened this early in the season, but I am super excited about it,” said the 23-year-old. “I tried during the play-off not to think about the consequences and the big picture of a win. I just stuck to one shot at a time and didn’t think about what a win would mean.”
The three previous winners in Greenwood – Wei-Ling Hsu (2014), Alejandra Llaneza (2015) and Madelene Sagstrom (2016) – all went onto to finish inside the top 10 to earn a spot on the LPGA.
Boutier had to fight all day to just get to the playoff with Moreno, who made birdie on the first hole to build a four-shot lead on Boutier, who bogeyed number one. Boutier got within a shot after back-to-back birdies on six and seven. Moreno faltered on the back nine with bogeys on 12, 14 and 16 while Boutier made eight pars on the back nine to get to the play-off.
Boutier hit a great second shot on the par-5 18th on the first playoff hole from 220-yards out to just short of the green. She chipped on to three feet and easily made birdie. Moreno missed the green long and right with her approach and had a tough chip back to the pin and made bogey.
“Because of my downhill lie on the second shot, I was able to keep it low so my 3-wood was able to travel quite far,” explained Boutier. “I had a small chip of just ten yards and then made the putt for birdie.”
Boutier has now finished inside the top 20 in four consecutive starts on the Symetra Tour and has three total top 10 finishes.
Boutier graduated from Duke in 2016 before turning professional, after the LET’s Lalla Aicha Tour School in December, where she tied for third place.
As an amateur, she was part of the 2014 National Championship team and won four times as an individual. She was the 2013-14 WGCA National Player of the Year.
The win was extra sweet for Boutier as her mother, Jacqueline, was following every step of the way in Greenwood.
“I’m so happy that she was here and was able to witness it on Mother’s Day (in the US),” said Boutier. “I’m so grateful for the support and everything she does for me.”
Moreno battled early in the week after a 2-over, 74 on day one. She rebounded with back-to-back 65s to grab the 54-hole lead, but came up short.
“I played great golf and I leave super happy with my performance,” said Moreno. “I did my best today and I came up short. Celine played great golf and she won it. I have been playing super solid all year and I hope a win comes soon.”