He took it to heart. Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, the 21-year-old from the seaside town of Carqueiranne, France, led the Q-Series for seven and a half rounds, getting the kind of steady numbers that made Tour veterans sit up and pay attention. The closest he came to a round outside of the sixties was a 69 on opening day in Mobile, when nerves seemed like lightning in Alabama air. After that, Roussin-Bouchard appeared to be in cruise control, posting ridiculous round after round: 67-66-65 to close out the first week, and then 68-68-67 after drifting northeast through the field strewn with pines to Dothan. Across 134 of the most grueling holes in golf, he was 34 under par.
It was then that he spat out the blow. Roussin-Bouchard played the last 10 holes with two over, and posted a 72, 32-under par for the week, finishing a stroke behind Na Rin An in an event where the difference between the first and twentieth is , for all practical purposes outside of pride and potential endorsements, insignificant. It would have been difficult to tell Roussin-Bouchard. She was distraught on the final green and could barely look up as she headed for scoring, despite her friends patting her on the back and congratulating her on getting an LPGA Tour card for 2022. After a few moments to stop Calming down, the Frenchwoman said, “At least I didn’t do this in the final round of a major.”
That’s the kind of personality LPGA Tour fans can expect to see next season. Born just one day after the 4th of July, Roussin-Bouchard is a firecracker, gregarious and charismatic, the kind of woman who juggles golf balls and tells jokes while waiting at the tee and then concentrating on a goal. like a sniper. That analogy is not far off. He likes to go to the shooting range on his days off. He also puts on his boxing gloves and takes on anyone who doesn’t mind getting hit in the nose.
“It’s not typical, no,” said University of South Carolina head women’s golf coach Kalen Anderson, who recruited Roussin-Bouchard for Columbia and was her mentor for two years. But it is explosive and powerful. She is an impressive athlete in every way. If you look at what she does in the gym, she’s like a ninja warrior. It is a phenomenon in the gym. He is not just a top talent on the golf course. You see her lifting weights, jumping, jumping heights that normal athletes don’t do. He gets into the gym with our baseball athletes and box jumps higher than most of them. Some of the guys will say, ‘I’m not going to jump next to her.’
You can see the athleticism when Roussin-Bouchard makes a drive. But there is also a sense of foolishness when dancing down the street.
“High energy and very organized,” Anderson said in describing the 2021 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year. “There is purpose to her practice every day. She is a special player in that sense. I have seen many great players go through our program and many great players when I coached at Duke. But there is an organization and a purpose in everything he does that goes beyond anything I have seen. I put it with the best of the best. He loves what he does. And it is contagious. You want to be close to it and be close to it.
Puggy Blackmon, who was director of golf from South Carolina when Roussin-Bouchard arrived called her “A generational player.” Then he offered some heady comparisons. “I put her in the category of David Duval, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, as she is a generational talent. Like them, it arrived fully formed. You can see the future with it and it’s good.
Anderson agrees to some extent. “He has always had the talent and drive,” said the head coach. But he has matured quite emotionally in recent years. You have learned to manage your emotions on the golf course. He has also had to define some aspects of his game in which he had to improve. And he has succeeded. He’s always had that work ethic in addition to the talent. He’s always had a talent level similar to Tiger Woods or David Duval, and then he’s had the intentional work on top of that. ”
Anderson will have the opportunity to see more of that development. Roussin-Bouchard, who agreed to stay in South Carolina for two seasons when she was originally hired, is still in school. He still lives in Columbia and works on his game with the rest of the team. She even volunteers as a student assistant coach.
“She’s a competitor,” Anderson said. «He is still learning and growing. He still has emotional things and can still improve in that regard. But she knows and works on it. The good thing is that it can do 31 or 32 bass. He wants to win everything he sets out to do. That’s one of the most amazing things about her.
“My assistant coach and I agree that he will probably win in his first year. It is still growing. He is still learning. But there is much that is already there.