Saturday, June 13, 2015

                              Picture by Cal Carson Golf Agency

The only golf writer at PortStewart Golf Club
Celine Boutier, 21-year-old No 3 seed from the Paris suburb of Montrouge, is the new Ladies' British Open Amateur Champion.
She beat 18-year-old Swedish player Linnea Strom from Gothenburg by 4 and 3 in the windswept 18-hole final at Portstewart Golf Club, Northern Ireland this afternoon.
Boutier, at one time ranked the World No 1 female amateur, i is now rated No. 10 in the R and A standings ranked with  Storm at No 22, so this was a final between two quality players.
 The French girl is a student golf team-mate of World No 1 Leona Maguire at Duke University, Durham in North Carolina. Strom will enrol alongwith Olivia Mehaffrey, whom she beat in the morning semi-finals, at Arizona University in August.
And so Celine became the eighth French-born winner since the championship began in 1893 but she is the first since M Monnet prevailed over Rebecca Hudson in the 1999 final at Royal Birkdale.
Boutier, the 2012 European ladies amateur champion and a prolific winner on the United States college circuit, lost in the Girls' British Open Amateur final a Gullane in 2011.
Strom was bidding to become the first Swedish winner since Anna Nordqvist beat compatriot Caroline Hedwall at North Berwick in 2008 but a rash of bogeys between the fifth and the 13th passed the initiative over to Boutier.
When it was all over, Strom had won only two holes, the ninth with a birdie and the long 14th with an eagle 3, while Boutier had a holes-won count of six, with two birdies and four pars.
Boutier was in danger of losing the first hole when she was too strong with her approach and ended up in the longer grass. She looked to have fluffed he pitch but in fact it rolled up to within 6ft of the hole and she confidently holed the putt for a half in par 4, Strom having failed to hole a birdie chance
And Boutier did the same again at the second, holing another par-saving putt of around 8ft to halve the hole.
"These two early putts settled me," said Celine later. "After that I don't think I missed a fairway and I holed some good putts. But it has been a long week of golf ... eight rounds in five days. I am very tired but I am also very happy, especially with the news that winning this title gets me into the Ricoh Women's British Open, the United Stated Women's Open and the Evian Masters (all of them Lady Pro Majors) without having to pre-qualify."
 .Boutier drew first blood at the fifth which Strom bogeyed to go one down.
The short sixth was halved in bogey 4s in the swirling wind but both players birdied the long seventh.
Boutier went two up when her Swedish opponet bogeyed the eighth but Strom produced her first birdie of the round - a 3 at the third, to turn one down with an approximate one-over 37 to Boutier's par-matching 36.
Strom had her fourth bogey in a six-hole span at the 10th to go back to two down.
Another bogey by the Swede - at the short 12th - saw her lose that one too and, at three down with six to play, Strom needed to turn the tide quickly or she would run out of holes.
The situation worsened as far as the girl from Gothenburg was concerned. She had a bogey 6 at the long 13th to go four down with five to play.
Strom raised her game with her back to the wall, producing an eagle 3 to win the 14th - only her second success of the final - to cut Boutier's lead to three holes with four to play
Boutier ended the contest which had lasted a little over three hours with a birdie 2 at the short 15th for a 4 and 3 triumph. She was one under par for the holes played. Strom was two over par
The Swede said later:
"They say that you play your best golf GETTING to the final but not always your best IN the final. That's what happened to me. I played very well in all the rounds leading up to the final espectially the morning semi-final against Olivia Mehaffey. That was about the best I had played. If I had played as well as that in the final, I might have had a chance against Celine but I didn't."
Today's results:
Linnea Strom (Sweden) bt Olivia Mehaffey (Royal Co Down Ladies) 5 and 4.
Celine Boutier (France) bt Charlotte De Corte (Belgium) 3 and 2.
FINAL (18 holes)
Boutier bt Strom 4 and 3.