Boutier makes it two wins in three weeks, Stark has her third professional win in five weeks and Willett wins on his birthday. Here's our weekly tour round-up:
What a month it has been for Celine Boutier. She helped Team Europe to retain the Solheim Cup at Inverness Club, then two weeks later won the Lacoste Ladies Open de France at Golf Club du Medoc in front of her family and now back in American she has won the ShopRite LPGA Classic in New Jersey.
The Frenchwoman matched her career-low score of 63, with eight birdies including a vital one of the last hole, to win her second LPGA title. It wasn’t an easy task to do and she narrowly avoided a play-off finishing one shot clear of Jin Young Ko, Inbee Park and Brooke Henderson.
On her win, the 27-year-old said:
“It was such a surreal day. This morning, I knew the course was scorable and that I had to shoot a low score to even have a chance.”
There’s no doubt that her win two weeks ago in France has helped her to develop a positive mindset in her return to American soil, she said:
“Yeah, it gave me a lot of confidence. That tournament meant a lot to me because it's the first professional event that I played as an amateur when they gave me an invite. Then any tournament I can play at home with my sponsor Lacoste, my family was there, my whole family was there, which is extremely rare, so it meant a lot for me to give myself a chance to win. And to be able to win on home soil is never easy, so I was definitely over the moon with that win.
“I feel like what you learn on tour each week is so different. Sometimes it's not easy to just get a new start every week. Especially when you win. You want to just enjoy it for a little bit more. But I had to play in Arkansas right after, so I just try not to think about it too much, but tried to move on.
“And every week is a different week, so you never know. But it definitely gave me a lot of confidence. But the fact that it's LPGA so it's not LET, it just helped me kind of get a fresh start. It's different players, different fields, and stuff like that. So it was a little bit easier for me to just focus on the week ahead.”
How does she feel about the rest of the season?
“I just feel like I'm having some really good momentum and hope to keep going until the end of the season.”
Maja Stark, third professional win, second LET title in 2021 season
Sweden’s Maja Stark showed her rising star quality as she made it a second win in her last three starts when she shot a tournament low 65, which saw her climb from a tie for 17th to the top of the leaderboard. She finished eight-under-par and two shots clear of Pia Babnik at the Estrella Damm Ladies Open presented by Catalunya in Sitges, Spain.
Playing in just her fifth LET event since turning professional in August, the 21-year-old talent came from seven strokes behind the overnight leader Magdalena Simmermacher to set the clubhouse target at Club de Golf Terramar.
Simmermacher held a four-stroke lead overnight and was looking to become the first LET winner from Argentina, but she dropped four shots in her first three holes to lose her advantage, eventually signing for a 79 to end in a share of 14th place.
This is Stark’s third professional title after winning the Creekhouse Ladies Open four weeks ago and the PGA Championship By Trelleborgs Kommun on the LET Access Series five weeks ago.
Commenting on her win, she said:
“Today my putter was working well. I kind of had the mindset that anything could happen from the first tee shot. I just thought, one shot at a time, because anything can happen in these conditions. Maggie lost a lot of strokes and the scoreboard was constantly shifting, so it was exciting.
“I always watched Tiger winning everything when I was growing up, so sometimes when I’m struggling with my confidence, I tell myself, “I am Tiger” when I hit the shot.”
With her victory, she has moved up from 25th to sixth place on the Race to Costa del Sol Ranking and she is only the second multiple winner on the LET this year, joining the Race leader Atthaya Thitikul from Thailand.
The next LET tournament is the Aramco Team Series – New York, which takes place at Glen Oaks in a fortnight.
Dunhill Links belongs to Danny
It’s pretty safe to say that when Danny Willett wins, he wins big, his last three wins were The Masters, the DP World Tour Championship and most recently the BMW PGA Championship. Now after two years, he has added the Dunhill Links Championship and not only that, he secured the win on his 34th birthday.
The Englishman headed into the final round with a three-shot advantage and maintained his lead throughout, winning by two shots at 18-under-par from fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton and Sweden’s Joakim Lagergren.
The birthday boy admitted it had been a tough time to get back to the top of his game, he said:
“It's been a very unfortunate last eight months, really. Every time the game feels like it's been in a nice place, we've had a couple of things, issues with health, just things that you can't really avoid. COVID, wisdom teeth, appendix, they are just things, and they seem to have knocked us back a peg or two, and never really been able to get the momentum going in.
“This one, for everyone watching, this seems quite out of the blue, but the practice I've been doing at home and the inner belief we have every time we get in and out of position to do something was proven again.”
There definitely isn’t a better place to claim a victory and Willett is looking to take this on to the final events of the season, he said:
“It's a fabulous place. Yeah, to win here, to be British and to be able to win on British soil, to win at the home of golf, this is a very special one. Especially after how the last kind of year and a half has been for everyone involved. Especially for us, we've struggled a little bit with things. And this is -- it's a really nice way to kind of hopefully kick on a little bit for these last couple of months of the season.”
Second win in 2021 for Sam Burns
Sam Burns added a second PGA Tour title to his CV after winning the Sanderson Farms Championship.
A final round of five-under-par, 67 was enough to finish one shot clear from Nick Watney and Cameron Young.
On his win, the 25-year-old said:
“It hasn't really set in yet. Still looking out there at the golf course like kind of trying to figure out what happened. Yeah, just very honoured to win here, being so close to home it's only two and a half hours from where I live now and having friend and family here it's really cool and a special week and just really excited.”
Sophia Schubert secures top 10 spot in Symetra Tour Race for the Card
Coming into the first round of the Carolina Golf Classic, Sophia Schubert was No. 9 in the Race for the Card. She had already claimed eight top-10 finishes, five of which came in the last five events, but a win could help her do it all.
Playing the last 18 holes with Fatima Fernandez Cano, who has already clinched her card, as well as Amanda Doherty, who entered the week at No. 10, competition was high all day long. Fernandez Cano and Schubert played well throughout the day and both birdied 18 to finish at -18 and head to a play-off. Three play-off holes later, Schubert rolled in an eagle putt to win a trophy, a check, her first win and clinch her spot in the Race for the Card top 10.
Schubert was obviously ecstatic with her win, she said:
“I have so many emotions right now and I'm just so happy and so grateful to have been in this position this week. I've worked really hard leading up to this season and I had a lot of expectations for myself, I was able to accomplish all of my goals this year and so I'm just really happy.”
In other news:
Bryson DeChambeau shone a light on the world of Long Drive last week. He made it through to the final eight of the Pro Long Drive Association World Championship in Mesquite. The title was eventually won by reigning World Champion Kyle Berkshire who hit a whopping 422-yard drive to win. There’s no doubt that his presence there elevated the event and brought it more into the golf mainstream. It was great to watch.
Kanani Lodge won the women’s event with a 332-yard drive and Jeff Gavin won the senior title.
Which other tours would you like us to report on? Drop us an email with your request here.