It only seemed as if Lizette Salas and Nelly Korda broke away into a tournament all their own on the front nine Saturday at Atlanta Athletic Club’s Highlands Course. Salas shot 6-under 30 on the first nine, and Korda, who’d shot 29 across that nine one day earlier, shot 33. Celine Boutier of France was the third player in that group and realized early that it would be difficult to keep pace. 

“I think she (Salas) started with three birdies in a row or something like that, and then Nelly had also two birdies. I just had one bogey. So it was definitely like night and day,” Boutier said. “But it also enabled me to completely let go of it because I felt like – I didn't feel like I was as close to them, so I was just like, you know what, let's just do my own thing and see at the end … because there's nothing I can do other than just do my own thing.”

Boutier birdied the eighth and ninth holes to turn at 1 under, then added an eagle at the par-5 12th and closing 18-footer for birdie at 18 to shoot 69. The eagle-3 at the 12th came on a 20-yard chip in. 

“I don't usually do a lot of eagles, so every one that comes is always welcomed,” said Boutier, who will start Sunday at 10-under 206, five shots behind the co-leaders. “It felt really nice because I did feel like I was kind of struggling a bit all day. Didn't have my full game as good as I wanted to, and I feel like that gave me a lot of confidence and allowed me to relax a bit more.”

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