Céline Boutier is back at the top of the leaderboard. After a Saturday 66 at the FREED GROUP Women’s Scottish Open pres. by Trust Golf, the Amundi Evian champion Boutier took the 54-hole lead of an event for the second-straight week at 13-under, three strokes ahead of Thailand's Patty Tavatanakit and Sweden's Maja Stark.
The Frenchwoman, who was tied for third after 36 holes, started strong with four birdies in her first seven holes before a bogey on No. 9 brought her back down to earth. Making the turn at 10-under two strokes behind then leader Stark, Boutier got it back under control with four more birdies on Nos. 12, 14, 17 and 18 and made just one more bogey on the 15th to finish with her seventh-consecutive round in the 60s with 18 holes left in Scotland.
“Just trying not to overthink the lines and hit some solid and aggressive puts,” said Boutier. “I feel like that was really helpful because, you know, sometimes you can question your lines a litle bit. They're a litle bit tricky to read sometimes, there's double breakers and stuff like that. So I've definitely made a point to not really overthink it.”
Boutier is looking to become the first player to ever win the Amundi Evian Championship as well as the tournament after since Evian was designated a major. With what could be a fifth-career victory just a day away, Boutier said she’ll continue to build off the momentum she’s been brewing since holding the major trophy in her home country only a week ago.
“I've been hitting a lot of good shots, which is nice to see, and I feel like my expectations have definitely been higher. Like even when I miss a good shot or I make a bogey, I definitely get more annoyed. So I definitely have to keep my, you know, expectations kind of like level and not get too far ahead of myself,” said Boutier. “But, no, it's been very nice to be able to see my game in good form.”
But, it won’t be easy for the 29-year-old. Tavatanakit, who last found the winner’s circle at the 2021 Chevron Championship, jumped up the leaderboard thanks to a 66 featuring two eagles on the par-5 3rd and 14th. Stark carded four birdies and one bogey in her first ten holes, getting as low as 13-under, but three bogeys coming in on Nos. 11, 15 and the par-5 18th left the Swede with hopes of a rebound on Sunday.
“I just felt like I had a lot of good opportunities, but I just didn't trust my irons today,” said Stark. “And I did stupid mistakes on my putting where I changed my mind when I was standing over the put, and then I aimed somewhere else, and then I missed. So that was just really stupid. I felt so -- such immature golf, I guess.”
Madelene Sagström sits in fourth at 9-under with Nicole Broch Estrup in fifth at 8-under after both Europeans shot 4-under 68s on Saturday. Hinako Shibuno, who held the 18- and 36-hole leads, carded a frustrating 5-over 77 in a round that saw one birdie, four bogeys and a double bogey on the par-3 15th to land in a tie for sixth with Sweden's Caroline Hedwall and Australia's Sarah Kemp. KPMG Women’s PGA Champion Ruoning Yin of China and American Andrea Lee are among five tied for ninth at 6-under.