HomeSport'In-form Boutier the one to beat at Women's Open'

‘In-form Boutier the one to beat at Women’s Open’


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Celine Boutier said she was “in shock” after winning the Women’s Scottish OpenIt is not hard to identify the form player heading into the year’s final major, the AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath.No-one should have more confidence than European Solheim Cup star Celine Boutier after following up her maiden major victory by triumphing at the Women’s Scottish Open at Dundonald last week.Even though the Frenchwoman was not at her best with a 70 on Sunday, she was composed enough to win by two shots. Boutier is 29 under par for her past two events and the first player to post three victories on the LPGA Tour this year.”If I win, I may just retire,” the 29-year-old joked at the prospect of maintaining her purple patch and claiming a third win in a row this week.Nevertheless, Boutier is hard to ignore given the quality of the golf she has demonstrated over the past fortnight – a lucrative period that all players have been targeting for success.”I feel like they were both very demanding courses, so I feel like it kind of forces me to really focus and have to dig deep a little bit,” she revealed after taking her season earnings past $2m (£1.6m).”Sometimes you’re just so focused on doing and playing and hitting shots that it’s kind of hard to really take in the full picture of how my game is.”I feel like golf is so frustrating that even when you win or you shoot a good score, you say, ‘oh, but that putt, that shot over there, I could have done better’.”Boutier is clearly a perfectionist and coping with the elevated expectation levels generated by her recent performances will be her biggest challenge at Walton Heath.”I’m honestly going to try not to think too hard about the consequences of what it means and all that because I feel like that freaks me out,” she smiled.”My game is in good condition. I’m not sure what to expect as far as the course [goes] because I’ve never played there and I don’t think it’s typical links. “So I’m just excited to see what it looks like and get a feel for it.”Boutier will discover a classic heathland course in the heart of Surrey which, despite not being a traditional seaside links, will prove a fitting test for the world’s best female players.The historic 6,800-yard layout will use 16 holes from Walton Heath’s Old Course and numbers 12 and 13 from the New Course. Fairways will not be as firm and fast as usual after being hammered by the unseasonal July rains.Who else could contend?”I’ve played there a couple times, and also the week before Evian I went for a round. It’s looking great,” noted Scottish hope Gemma Dryburgh.”Not a traditional Open course but it will be great – lots of heather around. Keep out of that, you should be fine.”The 30-year-old from Aberdeen posted her first major top 10 by finishing in a share of eighth place at the Evian before a relatively quiet week at her home Open when she finished tied for 44th on the Ayrshire coast.Walton Heath is the sort of course that may match up well with Charley Hull’s eye. The Englishwoman rarely relishes a links test, preferring defined inland setups.That said, the standout performance of her season did come at the seaside – albeit not on a links course – at Pebble Beach, where she finished second at the US Open last month.The 27-year-old from Kettering appears more at ease following a recent diagnosis for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.”I know my triggers now because I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, quite severely,” she revealed to BBC Look East.”I can understand now why sometimes I get bored on the golf course. I feel a lot better now.”It will take a world-beating performance from Hull to land a first major title this week because there are threats from all parts of the globe.Not far behind Boutier for recent form is 27-year-old Korean A Lim-Kim, who has been third and fourth over the past fortnight of high-level action.British galleries will be keen to get a first look at Rose Zhang as a professional. The 20-year-old American has made a stunning start to life in the paid ranks, winning the Americas Open and posting top-10s in the three subsequent majors.Last year’s US Open champion Minjee Lee is trending nicely. The Australian has been top 20 on her past two outings, as have American major winner Jennifer Kupcho and Sweden’s Linn Grant.Canada’s Brooke Henderson was runner-up at Evian, while world number one Nelly Korda was top 10 there immediately after winning the Aramco event at the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire, where she edged Hull into the runners-up spot.Walton Heath will provide a traditional English golfing test. It will, surely, identify a worthy winner and Boutier leads an impressive list of candidates.

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