Celine Boutier added another win to an impressive season after nine-hole playoff at the Maybank Championship.

The Frenchwoman grinded out a victory in Malaysia after going head to head with young star Atthaya Thitkul in the second-longest playoff in LPGA Tour history.

Boutier shot her second 64 of the week on Sunday to charge up the leaderboard at the Maybank Championship from where she began the day at T8. In her first bogey-free round at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, she made eight birdies, including three in a row on holes 3, 4 and 5 and holes 11, 12 and 13. Taking the solo lead late in the day, she headed onto 18 with a one stroke lead and a birdie opportunity to extend that lead. But her birdie putt lipped out for what would be the first time, but not the last time, on Sunday. Meanwhile, Thitikul, playing one group behind, sank her birdie putt to force 12th playoff of the season. 

Record-matching playoff

On the first playoff hole, both players found the fairway but Thitikul found trouble on the approach, hitting the roof of the hospitality pavilion where her ball bounced off into the rough. Boutier laid up and chipped onto the green, giving herself a 30-foot putt for birdie while Atthaya’s third shot left her on the fringe at the front of the bunker. A great chip from there gave her a good par chance, but Boutier would putt first. The Frenchwoman nearly ended it there, but her birdie putt stopped just inches short. Meanwhile, Thitikul converted the 7-foot par putt to extend the playoff.

Back on the 18th tee, Boutier found the fairway again while Thitikul hit it well right into the rough where her ball was embedded into a wet patch. While she took a free drop, Botuier hit her second shot into the left side rough just before the horns blew to pause play due to lightning in the area. After an hour and a half delay, the two were back on 18. From the rough, Atthaya hit her second shot into a greenside bunker but went up and down for par. Boutier stuck her third shot to the same exact spot as the first playoff hole, and almost ended it again with a bolder putting stroke, but the ball lipped out.

“Yes, it was definitely frustrating to say the least,” Botuier said on her two lip outs on 18.

Both made par on 18 and headed to the par-3 15 for the third playoff hole, where both hit the green but neither stuck it close. Another pair of pars took them back to 18. Thitikul found the rough again on her drive and pitched out onto the fairway while Boutier hit two solid shots, finding the fairway each time. But Thitikul’s third shot was perfect. She stuck it to 8 feet from far back on the fairway and Boutier did the same from 75 yards away. Each made their birdie putt and went back to 15. This time, Boutier found the green but Thitikul did not, landing her ball on the fringe right of the hole and 24 feet away. She missed just left, leaving Botuier with 15-foot birdie chance to win. She also missed left and the two returned to 18 for the fourth time.

Atthaya Thitikul reacts after a birdie putt on the 18th green during the final round of the Maybank Championship (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images/LPGA)

Both made par again on 18 and went back to 15 for the seventh playoff hole, three holes short of the LPGA Tour record of 10. They would make par for the third time and return to 18 for the eighth playoff hole. Not showing any fatigue, Boutier and Thitikul matched each other shot for shot, each finding the fairway off the tee and laying up to 65 yards. Thitikul put the pressure on with her approach shot, sticking it within 5 feet, but Boutier did the same pitching it within Thitikul’s shot. Each made birdie and headed to sudden death hole number nine, where it would end.

Still matching one another, both players hit it within 10 feet. Each with a chance for birdie, Thitikul missed her putt and Boutier clinched the opportunity to secure her sixth career victory on the LPGA Tour. With her win, Botuier takes the lead in the Rolex Player of the Year standings, surpassing three-time 2023 champion Lilia Vu. 

“I definitely wanted to win that award at some point in my career. I really did not expect it to be this season,” Boutier said. “Just to be able to have the chance to have this award at the end of the season is something that I definitely don't take for granted. I feel like it's an unbelievable amount of talent on Tour, and I'm so happy to be able to lead for that award this year.”

Rookie rises to the challenge

Rookie sensation Rose Zhang and Thailand’s Jamine Suwannapura tied for third after Sunday rounds of 71 and 70, respectively. It is Zhang’s fifth top-10 finish on the LPGA Tour in just her 12th event as a professional. Chinese Taipei’s Peiyun Chien finished solo fifth after shooting all four rounds in the 60s, one of just four players to do so. The other three to do it were Nelly Korda, Brooke Henderson and Gemma Dryburgh, who finished T6. Rounding out the top-10 are Megan Khang in solo ninth and Gaby Lopez in solo tenth. Of the sixth Malaysian players in the field, Natasha Andrea Oon performed the best, finishing T52 and -3 overall.

Watch the highlights from the final round of the Maybank Championship

Final leaderboard at the Maybank Championship