Nov 20th, 2021
Celine Boutier out front at LPGA finale
Solheim Cup star takes four shot lead into the weekend in Florida
Photography: Getty Images
Boutier started with a birdie on the 1st and notched seven more by day’s end. “I think I just have to keep doing what I've been doing. My long game has been really solid the past two days, so I hope I can keep it up for the next two. We'll see how the conditions also change on the course. I feel like it's playing a little bit drier today; definitely more windy,” said Boutier, who entered the week ranked fifth on Tour in strokes gained approach per round.
Boutier, who won her second Tour title at this year’s ShopRite LPGA Classic, sits ahead of three players in a tie for second at ten-under. Major champion Minjee Lee and Tour winner Gaby Lopez recorded four-under
68s to join Mina Harigae at ten-under. Lopez posted four-straight rounds in the 60s at last week’s Pelican Women’s Championship for the first time since the 2019 Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic.
“Honestly, today my goal was just to hang in there, try to hit it somewhat close and put really good rolls on it,” said Harigae. “I'm happy with the way that my back nine ended up.”
Four sit in a tie for fifth at nine-under, including 18-hole leader Jeongeun Lee6, who posted a Friday one-under 71 at Tiburon, and Rolex Rankings No. 1 Nelly Korda. “I think I can make more putts and I think my iron shots have been loose sometimes on a couple of holes here and there,” said Korda, who is one of five Americans in the top 10.
“You're not going to hit every shot great, so I think I've handled it pretty well. Hopefully I can give myself some better looks at birdies going into the weekend.”
Defending champion Jin Young Ko and 2018 winner Lexi Thompson are two of four players fighting from six shots back heading into Saturday at eight-under. Ko needs a second place finish or better to have a chance at winning the Rolex Player of the Year award. She is battling lingering wrist pain, which she feels in her backswing, but is still enjoying her final event of a spectacular season.
“I don't have 100% confidence for my swing or whatever; just keep hit the ball straight, and just choose right club and right direction from the wind and read a break right,” said Ko. “Yeah, just enjoy. It's fun.”