TEMPE, Ariz. – Duke University sophomore Celine Boutier registered an impressive career-best 54-hole total of 208 to claim the PING/ASU Invitational individual title on Sunday with a birdie on the 370-yard, par four 18th at the 6,223-yard, par 72 Arizona State University Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz.
As a team, Duke tied second overall in a very challenging field with rounds of 290, 284 and 285 for a three-day total of 859. South Carolina took home the title with a 54-hole ledger of 853 with Duke (859), Washington (859), Arizona State (859), Arizona (868), UCLA (872), Stanford (876), California (881), Texas (883) and Oregon (884) rounding out the top 10.
Duke jumped out to a blistering start with eight birdies over the first five holes and took a brief one-stroke lead over South Carolina, but the Blue Devils were six-over-par on the next four holes to drop back off the top of the leaderboard.
Boutier, a native of Montrouge, France, registered her second straight victory to close the regular season. For the second consecutive day, she opened on fire netting birdies on No. 2, No. 3 and No. 5 to take a commanding lead at nine-under-par. Boutier suffered bogeys on No. 6 and No. 9, but remained at the top of the leaderboard with nine holes remaining.
“Well I am beyond happy to win my second college individual title at the PING/ASU Invitational because of the strength of the field,” commented Boutier. “I played very consistently the whole week and finished the last round with a birdie to win by one shot so that is pretty nice.”
After four straight pars, Boutier collected her fourth birdie of the day on the 488-yard, par five 14th to get back to eight-under. She notched two pars, but had a bogey on No. 17 to drop back into a tie with Arizona State’s Noemi Jimenez, who shot six-under-par in the final round. Boutier responded with her fifth birdie of the day to claim the win by one stroke. For the day, she hit 12 greens, 10 fairways and had 28 putts.
For the second straight week, senior Laetitia Beck finished tied third as she carded a three-day total of 211 and was only three shots behind Boutier. A product of Caesarea, Israel, Beck totaled four birdies on the day, including her last one on the 537-yard, par five 17th to finish the day with a 71. She hit 15 greens, nine fairways and had 34 putts.
Carding a tied for the best round of the day, freshman Yu Liu turned in a six-under-par, 66, on Sunday to move from tied 30th to seventh overall. The impressive round continued her streak of top 10 finishes as she has now placed in the top 10 in each of her seven tournaments played this season. Liu, who is out of Beijing, China, tied for the second-lowest round in school history by a Duke freshman with her 66.
With her seven birdies on the day, it marked a season-high for the Blue Devils. Liu totaled four birdies on the front nine and three on the back, while only suffering one bogey on the day on No. 6. She hit a team-high 16 greens, 12 fairways and had 28 putts.
Senior Alejandra Cangrejo held a two-under-par ledger through eight holes, but was eight-over-par during her final 10 holes to finish with a 78. Overall, she tied 54th with a 227. With a final round 79, freshman Sandy Choi concluded the tournament tied 62nd with a 229. Playing as an individual, junior Irene Jung tied 65th with rounds of 80, 71 and 79.
Duke will next compete in the ACC Championship April 17-19 at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.