French golfer Celine Boutier added a second Ladies European Tour title to her resume with a resounding win in the inaugural Australian Ladies Classic Bonville in Coffs Harbour.
Despite a rain delay that suspended play for more than three hours, the 24-year-old saw off all challengers to win the Ladies European Tour-sanctioned event in fading light and with American Katie Burnett storming through the final round.
“It was hard, and I was a little bit nervous,” 24-year-old Boutier admitted later, concerned the sustained rain and fading light might halt her momentum when play finally resumed at 5.45pm (AEDT). “It’s not always easy when you have to get back out in the middle of a round but I did my best.”
Several Australians featured prominently in the event but were unable to make ground on the leader throughout the final day. Of the international visitors, American Christina Kim said the region was among the most beautiful she had seen in Australia.
“This is my first visit to Coffs Harbour, and it’s been absolutely breathtaking,” Kim said. “My first day here I’m like: I saw a koala (and) a wallaby in the wild. It’s been an incredible week, it really has.”
Bonville Golf Resort chairman Peter Montgomery said the event was an outstanding success, brought together in a short timeframe and shining the international spotlight on one of Australia’s most beautiful regions and golf courses.
“We provided the venue and a lot of assistance by our staff but the background operation of putting it together by Golf NSW, the Australian Ladies Professional Golf and the Ladies European Tour – that has been outstanding,” Montgomery said. “We’re very pleased with the way everyone has co-operated together and brought it together in such a very short time. We’ll see how we can make it better next year.”
Golf NSW keeps its attention on the Coffs Harbour Golf Coast, which will stage the women’s NSW Open from this Thursday.