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Evian Championship: Celine Boutier cruises to six-shot victory and maiden major title in France

Brooke Henderson finished second on eight under and Nasa Hataoka shared third with Celine Borge, Gaby Lopez, A Lim Kim and Yuka Saso; Celine Boutier's victory continues the run of first-time major champions

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Highlights from day four of the Evian Championship at the Evian Resort Golf Club in France

Celine Boutier cruised to a maiden major title as she completed an impressive six-shot victory on home soil at the Amundi Evian Championship.

Boutier took a three-shot lead into the final day at the Evian Resort Golf Club and never relinquished control on a breezy Sunday, with the Frenchwoman birdieing three of her opening five holes to quickly pull clear of the chasing pack.

She closed out a three-under 68 to end the week on 14 under and continue the run of first-time major winners, with the 29-year-old - who will feature for Team Europe at the Solheim Cup this September - finishing comfortably ahead of defending champion Brooke Henderson.

Brooke Henderson, of Canada, waits to tee off on the ninth hole during the first round of the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament at the Pebble Beach Golf Links, Thursday, July 6, 2023, in Pebble Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Image: Brooke Henderson finished runner-up after a final-round 70

Henderson posted a one-under 70 to finish in solo second, while a final-hole birdie from Nasa Hataoka lifted her into tied-third with Norway's Celine Borge, Mexico's Gaby Lopez, Korea's A Lim Kim and Japan's Yuka Saso.

How Boutier eased to maiden major

Boutier made the dream start when she converted from around eight feet to match the birdie of playing partner Hataoka at the first, before a long-range birdie at the par-three next quickly increased her lead to four.

Image: Nasa Hataoka played alongside Boutier in the final group

The world No 15 got up and down from the back of the third green and registered a 15-foot birdie at the par-three fifth, which was enough to go six ahead when Hataoka hit a poor chip from off the green and bogeyed the par-four sixth.

Boutier closed out a blemish-free front nine with pars but saw her lead cut to five when Henderson took advantage of the par-five ninth, with Hataoka joining the Canadian in tied-second when she birdied the 11th hole.

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Image: Boutier mixed four birdies with a lone bogey during her final round

The advantage temporarily dropped back to four when Boutier found a fairway bunker off the tee and carded her only bogey of the day at the 13th, only for the home favourite to go back five ahead after Hataoka failed to get up and down from the rough at the 14th.

Boutier holed from four feet to take advantage of the par-five 15th after Henderson had birdied the same hole in the group ahead, then found herself back six clear when Henderson bogeyed her penultimate hole.

Henderson closed out a one-under 70 to end the week on eight under and claim solo second, as Boutier made a two-putt par at the last to secure a fourth LPGA Tour title and maiden major success.

Scotland's Gemma Dryburgh birdied two of her last four holes to post a second successive 69 and finish on six under, with world No 2 Nelly Korda and rising star Rose Zhang in the group a further shot back.

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Boutier celebrates her maiden major victory in front of her home fans

Boutier savours 'dream victory'

Boutier becomes the first player from France to win the Evian Championship since it was designated as a major and she is just the third Frenchwoman in history to win a major, with the victory also set to move her inside the world's top 10.

"It [winning] has honestly been my biggest dream ever since I started watching golf," Boutier said. "This tournament has always been very special to me, even just watching as a teenager. To be able to hold this trophy is pretty unbelievable!"

France's Celine Boutier celebrates winning the Evian Championship women's golf tournament in Evian, eastern France, Sunday, July 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)
Image: Huge crowds cheered Boutier on to victory

On making such a fast start to her final round, Boutier added: "That was pretty unexpected! I definitely felt like I handled the first few holes really well. I had a good opportunity on one and the putt at the second was definitely a bonus.

"It definitely was not easy! The conditions were so tough that I felt like it could go either way really fast, so I just tried to focus on each hole at a time. I felt like it was pretty challenging with the wind."

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What's next?

The Freed Group Women's Scottish Open takes place from Thursday, co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour, where Ayaka Furue is defending champion.

The final women's major of the year takes place the following week, with the AIG Women's Open at Walton Heath live from August 10 on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the LPGA Tour with NOW.

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