France’s Celine Boutier birdied the 18th hole to take England’s Georgia Hall to a play-off before making another birdie on the same hole to win the LPGA Drive On Championship in Arizona; Charley Hull was in contention going into the final round but finished seventh
Last Updated: 27/03/23 8:06am
England’s Georgia Hall lost out on the first play-off hole at the LPGA Drive On Championship, with Celine Boutier edging a thrilling finale.
France’s Boutier forced the play-off after making a testing birdie put at the par-five 18th to close out a four-under 68, matching Hall at 20-under 268.
Playing the 18th hole again, neither golfer found the green with their second shot of the play-off, but Boutier, chipping from nearly the same spot as she did in regulation – short and right of the green – pitched to about four feet.
Meanwhile, Hall hit her second shot into a greenside bunker, blasted beyond the hole and failed to convert her birdie effort.
That set the stage for Boutier’s winning birdie putt.
Boutier had mixed feelings about squaring off in a play-off against – and beating – Hall, a former Solheim Cup team-mate.
“I was honestly not looking forward to it. It’s a bittersweet feeling because you obviously want to win, but at the same time I really think she’s an amazing player. She is a really good friend of mine.
“So I feel like it’s not always easy, but also I’m a little bit competitive, so I feel like I definitely want to win as well. But it’s not the greatest feeling.”
The victory in Arizona gave Boutier her third LPGA title and she is now the most successful French player on tour, moving past Patricia Meunier-Lebouc and Anne Marie Palli.
“I was a little bit nervous, but not as much as I expected or I thought I was going to be. I feel like I was just really focused,” she added.
“I had a really tough chip from the right with a break from right to left, so I was just trying to get as close as I could. Then the five- or six-footer was definitely a little bit of pressure.”
After three birdie-filled rounds at Superstition Mountain Golf Club, the final round started with 17 players within three shots of the lead and stayed to form.
Hall made the most of her fourth round, posting one of three seven-under 65s, including going six under on the back nine to take the clubhouse lead, finishing about an hour ahead of Boutier.
The 26-year-old, who was looking for her first win since the 2020 Cambia Portland Classic, which followed a victory at the Women’s British Open in 2018, tried to find some consolation in her near-miss.
“Obviously fantastic to get to the position I was in. I knew I had to shoot low today, and obviously gutted about the play-off,” she said.
Charley Hull (69) was in contention going into the final round but finished down in seventh place.
Japan’s Ayaka Furue closed with a 65 and finished third at 19 under.
Narin An of South Korea was alone in fourth at 18 under following a closing 67, while American Ally Ewing (67) and South Korea’s Jin Young Ko (68) were another stroke back in fifth.
The LPGA Tour season heads to California next for the DIO Implant LA Open, beginning on Thursday. The final two rounds are live on Sky Sports Golf from 11pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland