Three birdies. No bogeys. Sitting in third heading into the final day of the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio at -8 overall. Seems like a simple day for two-time LPGA Tour winner Celine Boutier. Except, it wasn’t. On a day where the scoring average was 75.12, Boutier’s 69 was the day’s lowest round as the field battled wind gusts reaching 40 mph. She was one of only five players to record under par rounds on Saturday, a feat not lost on the rest of the field as well.
“I just feel like it was not playing easy for sure, but I just feel like I was able to hit the shots I wanted to do,” said Boutier. “And then my putting under 10 feet was really good, so it saved me a lot of pars and make few birdies. It was just a really solid day from start to finish.”
“She's a really good player and I wish I played with her and learned something,” said Yuka Saso, who finished with an even-par round to sit one below Boutier at -7 in a tie for fourth. “But, yeah, playing in this condition with bogey-free, I think you really need really good shots and good putts.”
The Frenchwoman started with a birdie on the first which she said helped settle any nerves she mustered with adapting to the conditions, posting the others on No. 12 and 16. She’s now gone bogey-free through 36 holes, her last being a double-bogey on No. 18 on Thursday.
She heads into Sunday three off the Lydia Ko’s lead at -11. Boutier, who finished fourth in the event in 2020, would become the winningest player from France in LPGA Tour history with a victory on Sunday. She’s had experience coming from behind to top the leaderboard. In her ShopRite LPGA Classic win last year, she started five shots off the lead with 18 holes to go and is looking to copy her New Jersey feat Sunday at Gainbridge.
“It's very positive for sure. I feel like the season is quite long, so you don't want to get too far ahead of yourself. But as many times as you can to be able to play for the win in the weekend is the goal, you know. So, I'm very excited for the opportunity, and I'm just going to try to do my best.”