Celine Boutier realised a lifelong dream with her victory at the Amundi Evian Championship. The 29-year-old became the first Frenchwoman to win her homeland’s major in Evian-les-Bains, France, with a final-round 68 giving her a dominant 14-under 270 total. Boutier’s six-stroke win ties for the largest in tournament history (along with Lydia Ko in 2015) since it claimed major status in 2013. Here’s how the tour pro from Montrouge won the championship’s 11th playing as a major.
Boutier (-14), Brooke Henderson (-8), Celine Borge (-7), Gaby Lopez (-7), A. Lim Kim (-7), Yuka Saso (-7), Nasa Hataoka (-7)
“Honestly, it has been my biggest dream ever since I started watching golf,” Boutier said. “This tournament has always been very special to me, just even watching as a teenager. To be able to hold this trophy is pretty unbelievable.”
What it means
Boutier has been making French golf history throughout 2023. In March, she became the ‘winningest’ player from her country on the LPGA Tour, pulling out the victory at the Drive On Championship at Superstition Mountain for her third career LPGA title. A little more than four months later, Boutier became the first Frenchwoman to win her homeland’s major and the third French native to win a major on the LPGA alongside Catherine Lacoste, who won the US Women’s Open in 1967 as an amateur and Patricia Meunier-Lebouc at the 2003 Chevon Championship. Boutier is one of four players to have won twice on tour this year, joining Lilia Vu, Ruoning Yin and Jin Young Ko.
Boutier also extends one of the trends of Evian’s past champions. She is 15th in the Rolex Women’s World Ranking, making it 10 of 11 victors of the Evian that were in the top 20 of the world ranking when they won.
How it happened
Despite the pressure – and potential nerves – that come with French fans cheering all around the course throughout the day, Boutier delivered a steady-handed performance on Sunday while her closest chasers had up-and-down days on the hillside Evian Resort Course. The 2019 Vic Open winner started the last day with a three-stroke lead over Nasa Hataoka and quickly broke away from the field with birdies on the first two holes. After her third birdie of the day on the fifth, Boutier’s lead ballooned to six after Hataoka bogeyed the sixth hole.
“That was pretty unexpected,” Boutier said. “I definitely felt like I handled the first few holes really well, and I had a good opportunity on one, and the putt on two was definitely a bonus.”
Boutier made the turn with a five-shot advantage over defending champion Henderson with a clean 32. It was a big enough cushion where when Boutier made a bogey on the 13th, her first bogey in 19 holes, it didn’t cause panic. Sure enough, on the par-5 15th, she made birdie to rebuild the five-stroke cushion.
As Boutier had all week, she played to safe spots down the stretch, parring the final three holes. Boutier’s adrenaline might have finally shown itself on the 18th when her first putt from 30 feet ran five feet past the cup. But as Boutier had all day, she made the comebacker for par, and the champagne deluge began. The homeland crowd chanted “Ole, Ole, Ole” as Boutier realised her biggest dreams.
“I think nothing else matters now that I have this trophy, so I’m really good for the rest of the year,” Boutier said.
Boutier’s 66-69-67-68 performance made her the only player to shoot four rounds in the 60s. Boutier credited the consistent play with a new mental approach to the Evian – she chose to treat the major like any other week on tour rather than place more importance on the championship in her home country. The change proved effective, as Boutier’s previous best finish in the tournament was T-29 in 2014 and 2021.
Best of the rest
Atthaya Thitikul’s 30 on the back nine on Sunday closed out a final-round, six-under 65 to finish at five-under for the week. The charge moved the Thai from 39th to T-9, returning to the top 10 after Thitikul missed the cut in her past two starts at the US Women’s Open and the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
Rose Zhang continues to impress in the early going of her professional career. Her closing three-under 68 placed her T-9, with the five-under performance Zhang’s fourth top-10 of her professional career in five starts.
Nasa Hataoka continues to chase her evasive maiden major title. Impressively, Hataoka ended up in the final group on Sunday in both of the LPGA’s past two majors. Unfortunately for her, she shot four-over at the US Women’s Open and one-over in France, unable to win and shed the unwanted label of the active player with the most wins on the LPGA without a major title, which Hataoka shares with Jessica Korda.
Lydia Ko went from a first-round 66, sitting two strokes off the lead at five-under, to a 76-71-77 finish to end up T-61 for the week at six-over. The Kiwi is historically a dominant force at the Evian Resort Course, posting seven top-10s, including a victory in 2015, from nine career starts. Instead of turning her season around with her first top 30 since a T-6 at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February, Ko continues to try to find her footing.
In similar fashion, after Minjee Lee had leapt up the leaderboard with a third-round 66 to move into a share of third place with a round to go, just a shot behind Henderson in second. However, a closing 75 dropped the West Australian into a tie for 16th alongside countrywoman Steph Kyriacou as the leading Australians in France.