Date: February 11, 2019
Author: Martin Blake

Boutier back on the horse at The Grange

For Celine Boutier, the celebration was all too short.

Sunday’s ISPS Handa Vic Open winner heard her alarm before 6am Monday morning in Barwon Heads, with a lift to the airport on the way. By 6.30, she was in the car and on her way to Adelaide.

Such is the life of a professional golfer, where the caravan moves on quickly.

Frenchwoman Boutier was at The Grange in Adelaide by 1.30pm today, greeted by the Jutanugarn sisters and a string of other LPGA Tour players delighted by her first victory on tour at age 25.

This Thursday, she will tee it up in the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open at The Grange and try to do it all again.

“There wasn’t much time,” she said today. “I called my family and that was all.’’

Her parents were in Paris and had not been able to access the broadcast, but her sister watched it live.

Had she considered a Monday rest? “No days off,” she said.

Boutier, who graduated to the LPGA Tour from the secondary Symetra Tour, was once the No. 1 amateur in the world, winning a national championship while she studied on scholarship at Duke University in North Carolina.

But until Sunday she had enjoyed only one top-10 finish on the main tour, and her world ranking was No. 123. But her weekend at 13th Beach was exceptional; in particular, she jumped through the field quickly on the Saturday when the conditions were horrendous, carding a three-under par 69 against a field average of 75. “I think Saturday was a big day for me, being able to score well in those conditions,’’ she said.

It should not have surprised to see her plot her way around the course again on Sunday, shooting even-par 72 to take the lead on the front nine and holding firm through the back nine, parring in after a great birdie on the par-four 15th.

Boutier is a low ball-hitter, and has quickly found that seaside golf suits her style. Certainly 13th Beach did not offer the players a single still day, and Saturday was a nightmare for some players. “I think that course suits my style,’’ she said. “I seem to like playing links golf. It’s not something that I try to do. It just comes naturally.”

The young woman from Paris, born in France of Thai parents, now has the task of backing it up this week. “I’m not sure how it’s going to be,’’ she said.

But she’s up for the challenge.