After a summer full of memories to last a lifetime, Celine Boutier is looking to cap it all off with another strong performance at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France this week.
The Parisian is competing at Golf Club du Medoc in her first event since helping Team Europe retain the Solheim Cup in Toledo, Ohio earlier this month, in what was a momentous occasion for her and her team-mates.
Boutier helped contributed one and a half points from her three matches that week and is looking to take that form into this week’s tournament, as she looks for her first LET victory in three years at a venue where she finished second to World number one Nelly Korda in 2019.
“I feel really lucky to be a part of the team and to win both times is a real bonus,” Boutier said. “I feel European golf is getting better and better so hopefully we can win a lot more in the future.
“I’m really happy to have experienced that, but now I’m trying to focus on the next week and finish the season strong, I want to try and get a win and put myself in the right positions.”
The Lacoste Ladies Open de France is a tournament that has a prominent place in Boutier’s heart, having been where she made her professional bow on Tour with a 14th placed finish back in 2016.
From there she has gone from strength to strength, with two Solheim Cup victories and an Olympic Games appearance to her name but playing in her homeland is always something that she will cherish.
Boutier, who is number 66 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, continued: “It’s been an unbelievable summer, I got to go to Japan for the Olympics then win the Solheim Cup in America. I feel I’ve got better and better as the season has gone on and I hope I can keep going on that trajectory for the rest of the season.
“It’s always a special week for me to play in France, because I get to see my family and have my friends support me on the course.
“This week especially as the Lacoste Ladies Open de France was the first tournament I played in, it would mean a lot if I played well and to get the win this week.
“They’ve always been so great to French amateur players, and I’m really grateful to them for giving me the opportunities all those years ago.”
Elsewhere in the field, Sanna Nuutinen is looking to continue her consistent season going in France, with the Finn coming in off the back of her 11th top 20 finish of the year in the VP Bank Swiss Ladies Open last week.
The 30-year-old’s name has been a constant presence at the top of leaderboards throughout 2021, which sees her sit third in the Race to Costa del Sol heading into the week at Golf Club de Medoc.
A first LET win still remains elusive for Nuutinen though, and she is as eager as ever to get her name on the trophy come Saturday evening.
“I’m still missing my first win, so every week I’m teeing up trying to get my first win, that’s my biggest goal. Sometimes I end up being top five, sometimes top 20, I’ve missed a few cuts too, but that’s my only goal,” the Finn said.
“I like the layout of the course; you can hit a lot of drivers off the tee and the visuals are good – the greens are brilliant as well.
“I need to get my ball striking with the irons more consistent if I want to reach the next level, I need to get closer to the hole and make it easier for myself.”
Nuutinen will be teeing off alongside Austria’s Christine Wolf and Olivia Cowan of Germany when play gets underway on Thursday, with the latter making her first appearance on tour since the AIG Women’s Open in mid-August.
And the 25-year-old hopes the break will have done her the world of good, as she looks to finish her season strongly and build on her Aramco Team Series – London win earlier this year with a first solo victory.
“It’s nice to be back out playing golf and back on Tour, it was good to have a break after the hectic season this year though,” Cowan said.
“I’ve played some good golf this year, and had some results that I didn’t want, but overall, it’s been steady so I can’t complain.
“The course looks in the best condition I’ve seen it so it’ll be interesting to see what the scores will be, I think it suits my game though – there are some long holes that might be tricky but if you get yourself on the green, you’ll be fine.”
There is also a place in the field this week for 16-year-old Vairana Heck, who recently helped create history in the PING Junior Solheim Cup, as she helped Team Europe to victory after an amazing final day comeback in Ohio.
Heck was part of the team that overturned an 8-4 deficit to claim nine out of the 12 points on offer in the singles matches to claim a first ever victory on US soil for the team and is hoping to use that experience as she competes with the professionals this time around.
“It was an incredible week and an incredible experience,” Heck said.
“Annika Sorenstam (Team Captain) told us that we can do it and it made us believe, and to learn from her was such a great experience and something I will remember for life.
“It’s great to play with other pros this week, I need to be relaxed, play my game and be confident. I’ll try to treat it like any other tournament and that way I will play well.”
2018 winner Caroline Hedwall will also be in the field this week, as well as Solheim Cup winner Emily Kristine Pedersen, while Pauline Roussin Bouchard and Maja Stark will be looking to build on their recent victories in Sweden with strong performances in France.
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