Associated Press – News Agency2 Minute Read
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Celine Boutier emerged victorious in a dramatic playoff against Atthaya Thitikul to claim the Maybank Championship on the LPGA Tour. With dark clouds looming and another thunderstorm on the horizon, Boutier secured a birdie on the ninth playoff hole to seal the win.
The playoff between Boutier and Thitikul was a thrilling battle, with both players delivering almost identical shots throughout. As tension mounted, potential winning putts agonizingly edged past the holes, keeping the players tied. The dramatic playoff was further extended by a 90-minute storm delay at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club course.
The decisive moment came at the ninth playoff hole on the par-3 15th, when Thitikul narrowly missed her birdie putt, leaving the door open for Boutier. Showing remarkable composure, Boutier calmly sank a 6-foot putt to capture her fourth title of the season, which included victories at the Women’s Scottish Open and the Evian Championship, her first major title.
In regulation play, both Boutier and Thitikul finished with impressive scores of 21-under 267 after 72 holes.
Boutier’s final round saw her shoot an outstanding 8-under 64, featuring eight birdies. She almost had a ninth birdie on the 18th hole, but her putt narrowly missed. Had it gone in, the Frenchwoman would have held a two-shot lead over Thitikul. However, Thitikul responded with a birdie on the final hole, forcing the gripping playoff in the hot and humid conditions of Malaysia.
“To be honest, I didn’t expect it to be that long,” commented Boutier about the lengthy playoff. “It felt like we were both so close to winning a few times, and I just knew we had to make a birdie. I understood that she wasn’t going to make a mistake, so I had to give it my all and create the best opportunities for birdies.”
American golfer Rose Zhang, who held a one-stroke lead going into the final round, finished at 19 under after shooting a 71. She ended in a tie for third place with Thai player Jasmine Suwannapura (70).
Taiwan’s Chien Peiyun secured fifth place with a score of 18-under 270 after shooting a strong 68. American Nelly Korda and Canadian Brooke Henderson both finished in a tie for sixth at 17 under, having shot impressive scores of 66.
The Maybank Championship was the third out of four LPGA events in the tour’s Asian swing. Last week’s South Korea stop was won by Australia’s Minjee Lee in a playoff. The final event of the swing is the upcoming Toto Classic in Japan.
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