Celine Boutier holds four-shot lead at Tour Championship

Celine Boutier carded a 7-under 65 on Friday and holds a four-shot lead after two rounds of the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship on Thursday at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla.

Boutier had eight birdies and one bogey during her stellar round. The Frenchwoman holds a four-shot lead over Gaby Lopez of Mexico, Minjee Lee of Australia and Mina Harigae of the United States.

The 28-year-old Boutier took charge with seven birdies over her final 10 holes.

“I was a little bit frustrated with my front (nine),” Boutier said. “I left a couple of shots out there so I was really good to get after it on the back. My long game was really solid all day, and I was able to put my shots really close, and that was definitely helpful on the back nine.”

The torrid stretch leaves Boutier in great position at the halfway point of the tournament.

“My mindset is the same. One thing I learned being in that position is that it really doesn’t mean much right now,” Boutier said. “Anything can happen. There is a lot of golf still left. So I’m just going to try to keep doing the same thing tomorrow and the same thing Sunday.”

Lee and Lopez each had five birdies and one bogey while shooting 68s, while Harigae made four birdies and one bogey for a 69.

“The scores are really good this year, so you have a lot of birdie opportunities,” Harigae said. “These greens are rolling so well. If you pick a good line you have a great chance of making a lot of putts.”

World No. 1 Nelly Korda shot a 3-under 69 and is at 9-under 135 in a tie for fifth. The others are South Korea’s Eun-Hee Ji (68) and Jeongeun Lee6 (71) and England’s Georgia Hall (68).

Korda had four birdies and one bogey and is hopeful of ramping her game up a notch over the final 36 holes.

“I think I can make more putts and I think my iron shots have been loose sometimes on a couple holes here and there,” Korda said. “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.”

Lee6 was the first-round leader with a splendid bogey-free 64 but didn’t fare as well in the second. She had three birdies and two bogeys.

Lexi Thompson (69) is one of three Americans tied for ninth at 8 under. Ally Ewing shot 68 and Megan Khang carded a 69 while South Korea’s Jin Young Ko shot 67.

“I’m just going to stick to my game plan that I had the last two days, focus on one shot at a time, sticking to really visualizing my shots out there, and see where it takes me,” Thompson said.

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