Golf roundup: LPGA’s Celine Boutier wins epic nine-hole playoff

AP photo by Vincent Thian / Celine Boutier hits on the 18th fairway during the final round of the LPGA Tour's Maybank Championship on Sunday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — In fading light and with another thunderstorm approaching, France's Celine Boutier made a birdie on the ninth playoff hole to defeat Atthaya Thitikul and win the LPGA Tour's Maybank Championship on Sunday.

In a marathon playoff, both golfers made nearly identical shots on several holes and saw potential winning putts lip out as they stayed tied through eight tense extra holes, which included sitting out a 90-minute storm delay at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

At the ninth playoff hole on the par-3 15th of the West Course, the Thai player narrowly missed her birdie putt, opening the door for Boutier, who showed no nerves in sinking her six-foot putt to clinch her fourth title of the season, including wins at the Women's Scottish Open and the Evian Championship for her first major title.

Boutier and Thitikul finished at 21-under-par 267 after 72 regulation holes. Their extra nine holes tied the record for the second-longest playoff in LPGA Tour history.

Boutier shot an 8-under 64 with eight birdies, which would have been nine had her birdie putt on the 18th not lipped out. Had that gone in, she would have held a two-shot clubhouse lead over Thitikul, but the Thai player made birdie on the final hole for a 68 to force what became a lengthy playoff in hot, humid conditions.

"I didn't expect it to be that long, to be honest," Boutier said of the playoff. "I felt like we were both very close to winning a few times, and I just felt like we just had to make a birdie essentially. I knew she wasn't going to make a mistake, so I had to go for it and give myself the best chances for birdies."

American player Rose Zhang, who had a one-stroke lead going into the final round, shot a 71 to finish at 19 under, two shots behind the leaders in a tie for third with Thailand's Jasmine Suwannapura (70).

Chien Peiyun (68) of Taiwan was fifth at 18-under 270. American Nelly Korda and Canadian Brooke Henderson each shot a 66 to finish at 17 under and share sixth place.

It was Zhang's fifth top-10 finish on the LPGA Tour in just her 12th event as a professional in her rookie season.

Boutier is the first player to win at least four times in a single season since Korda (4 wins) and Jin Young Ko (5) in 2021.

Thitikul and Boutier were on the second playoff hole when the horn blew at 2:48 p.m. because of lightning in the area. Play resumed at 4:20 p.m.

The longest playoff in LPGA Tour history was 10 holes at the 1972 Corpus Christi Civitan Open. The last nine-hole playoff occurred at the 2012 Kingsmill Championship, where Jiyai Shin of South Korea defeated American golfer Paula Creamer.

The Maybank Championship was the third of four LPGA events on the tour's Asian swing. Minjee Lee of Australia won last week's stop in South Korea in a playoff. The final tournament is the Toto Classic, which starts Thursday in Japan.

Quicker playoff settles Qatar Masters

DOHA, Qatar — Finland's Sami Välimäki beat Spain's Jorge Campillo in a playoff to win the Qatar Masters for his second career victory on the DP World Tour.

Välimäki started the final round a shot off leader Campillo but caught up on the back nine to take the lead with a birdie on the par-three 17th. However, Campillo birdied the par-five 18th to close out a 2-under 70 and join Välimäki (69) at 18-under 270 and force a playoff.

Campillo could only manage par on the first playoff hole as Välimäki made a birdie to secure his first win since the Oman Open in 2020, which he also won in a playoff. It's the 11th win on the Euorpe-based circuit by a Finnish golfer and the first since Kalle Samooja won the Porsche European Open in June 2022.

"It's hard to talk. It's been a long journey and feels great," Välimäki said. "I work so hard and I feel like I've earned it a couple of times, but it hasn't come my way. That's why it feels so amazing."

Campillo was aiming to win the Qatar Masters for the second time, having first taken the title in 2020.

Spain's Nacho Elvira (69) and Scotland's Scott Jamieson (69) tied for third at 16 under.

Aussie amateur earns spots in majors

MELBOURNE, Australia — Jasper Stubbs won on the second playoff hole to take the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and earn an invitation to the 2024 Masters and a spot in next year's British Open at Royal Troon.

The 22-year-old Australian came from six shots back to closed with a 2-under 69 and finish tied with Chinese pair Ding Wenyi (70) and Sampson Zheng (75) at 1-over 285 at Royal Melbourne and force a playoff.

Ding and Stubbs both made birdie at the tricky par-4 18th, but Zheng could only make a par and was eliminated.

Stubbs and 18-year-old Ding headed back to play the 18th again, and while the Australian found the back of the green, Ding hit his approach into a greenside bunker.

Stubbs then sent his 13-yard birdie putt to within a whisker of the hole, and when Ding's par putt lipped out, the Australian tapped in for the win and all that comes with it.

"The Masters is something every kid's ever dreamed of," Stubbs said. "It's the one tournament that every golfer wants to play in their life, and now that that's going to be the reality for me, I'm speechless, it's life-changing.

"I'm really excited for April now and also for the Open."

Along with the invitation to the Masters and British Open in 2024, Stubbs will also be exempt from qualifying for the British Amateur.

Stubbs' final round included four birdies, three of which came in the last nine holes, and two bogeys on the Royal Melbourne composite course that was last used for international competition at the 2019 Presidents Cup.

Zheng — who shot a 65 on Saturday to set an amateur course record and take a four-stroke lead into the final round — had two birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey at the par-4 second as his lead evaporated Sunday.

Second-round co-leader Ding had two birdies and a bogey to stay in contention through the day.