She took it hard. Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, the 21-year-old from the seaside resort village of Carqueiranne, France, led Q-Series for seven and a half rounds, putting up the kinds of consistent numbers that had veteran Tour watchers sitting upright and paying attention. The closest she came to a round outside the sixties was a 69 on opening day in Mobile when the nerves felt like lightening in the Alabama air. After that, Roussin-Bouchard appeared to be on cruise control, posting one ridiculous round after another: 67-66-65 to close out week one, and then 68-68-67 after moving northeast through the pine-strewn countryside to Dothan. Through 134 of the most grueling holes in golf, she was 34-under par.
That’s when she spit the bit. Roussin-Bouchard played the last 10 holes two over – she posted a 72, 32-under par for the week, finishing one shot behind Na Rin An in an event where the difference between first and twentieth is, for all practical purposes outside of pride and potential sponsorships, meaningless. It would have been hard to tell Roussin-Bouchard that. She was distraught on the final green and could barely look up as she marched into scoring, despite her friends patting her on the back and congratulating her for earning an LPGA Tour card for 2022. After a few moments spent cooling off, the Frenchwoman said, “At least I didn’t do this in the final round of a major.”
That is the kind of personality LPGA Tour fans can look forward to seeing next season. Born just one day after the Fourth of July, Roussin-Bouchard is a firecracker, gregarious and charismatic, the kind of woman who will juggle golf balls and tell jokes as she’s waiting on a tee box and then zone in on a target like a sniper. That analogy isn’t far off. She enjoys going to the gun range on her off days. She will also strap on boxing gloves and spar a few rounds with anyone who doesn’t mind taking a jab to the nose.
Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, statements
“Not typical, no,” said University of South Carolina head women’s golf coach Kalen Anderson, who recruited Roussin-Bouchard to Columbia and mentored her development for two years. “But it’s explosive and powerful. She’s an impressive athlete all around. You look at what she does in the gym, she’s like a ninja warrior. She’s a freak in the gym. This isn’t just superior talent on the golf course. You see her lifting weights, jumping, she’s leaping heights that normal athletes just don’t do. She gets into the gym with our baseball athletes and she’s doing box jumps higher than most of them can. Some of the guys will say, ‘I’m not jumping next to her.’”.