CIGANDA WINS ANDALUCÍA COSTA DEL SOL OPEN DE ESPAÑA
- Ciganda secures her fifth LET title with victory at Los Naranjos
- In the 2021 Race to Costa del Sol Atthaya Thitikul, Pia Babnik and Stephanie Kyriacou finish as the top three
Carlota Ciganda became the second Spanish player to win the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España as she recorded a four-shot victory.
The Solheim Cup star produced a final round of 67 (-5) to give her a winning total of 15-under-par for the tournament and she joined Azahara Munoz in winning her national championship.
Ciganda, who held a three-shot lead coming into the final day, had an excellent front nine at Los Naranjos Golf Club with two birdies and an eagle to make the turn in 32 (-4).
The 31-year-old remained calm and collected on the back nine and finished with a flourish rolling in a birdie on the 18th to win her fifth LET title and first since the 2019 Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open.
“I’m very happy, it’s a tournament that I really wanted to win. I love Spain and to win your country’s tournament is something very special so I’m happy with the way I played,” said Ciganda.
“To shoot two bogey-free rounds round here is great golfing, it was quite tough in the back nine with the wind, so I was pleased with how I played all week.
“I was trying to go as low as I could, I wasn’t trying to focus on the others I was trying to do my own thing and make as many birdies as I could. I think I followed my strategy, and my caddie did a great job – I think he did really good – so I’m happy with no mistakes.”
After finishing in the top ten in her last seven appearances in the tournament, it meant a lot for Ciganda to secure the victory in front of her home fans.
She added: “It’s hard to explain, I get emotional because I love Spain and I love my family, so it’s just amazing to win this week.”
Four shots behind Ciganda in second place was Sweden’s Maja Stark who posted a bogey-free final round of 66 (-6) to finish on 11-under-par.
Stark started the week with a round of 74 but got to know the course better each day posting rounds of 68 and 69 before her 66 on Sunday.
“I enjoyed the week apart from my first round and my first hole on Saturday, I think Spain is my favourite place to play,” said the 21-year-old, who won the Estrella Damm Ladies Open presented by Catalunya in October.
“Coming so close to the top five (in the Race to Costa Del Sol) stings a little bit, that was my goal for the week – I knew I had to win and nothing else was on my mind. It was close but Carlota played great so you can’t be unhappy with it, I’ll just try again next year.
“I knew what I had to do but I didn’t’ go the whole way, but not making any bogeys on the final day of a tournament when you’re going for every pin, I think is still pretty good.”
2021 Race to Costa del Sol champion Atthaya Thitikul finished in third place, three shots behind Stark on eight-under-par after a final round of 71 (-1).
The 18-year-old began her round with a bogey, before rolling three birdies on the rest of the front nine.
Another birdie on 14 put the Thai talent within four shots but she soon found the water at 15 and came away with a double bogey to put an end to her title hopes.
“I felt really good this week, I hit some pretty good shots out there but just missed a couple of putts, Carlota played really well though, so she deserves the trophy,” said Thitikul.
“It’s been a rollercoaster this year, I feel really great and honoured to be the Race to Costa Del Sol number one, as it’s my rookie year as well, it’s been a great year for me on the LET.
“All the LET staff, all the players have been really nice, and I’m so happy to do what I love, and I have loved to be able to be a part of the Ladies European Tour this year.”
Spain’s Fatima Fernandez Cano ended the tournament in fourth place on seven-under-par after shooting a 69 (-3) on day four.
While compatriot Nuria Iturrioz produced the round of the day carding a seven-under-par 65 to propel her up the leaderboard. The three-time LET winner made an eagle on the second before adding a birdie on the seventh, she then rolled in four birdies in a row on hole 10 through 13.
Although Iturrioz dropped a shot on 15, the Spaniard finished in style with a birdie at the last to be tied for fifth alongside Australia’s Stephanie Kyriacou on five-under-par for the tournament.
Finland’s Ursula Wikstrom was seventh on four-under-par with Sweden’s Jessica Karlsson in eighth, while Belgian Manon De Roey and India’s Aditi Ashok were tied for ninth place on two-under-par.
In the 2021 Race to Costa del Sol, Thitikul ends the year as number one with 3,591.96 points to her name and Slovenia’s Pia Babnik is second with 1.953.89.
Kyriacou moves up to third place thanks to her finish in Spain with Sanna Nuutinen fourth, Olivia Cowan fifth, Stark sixth and Ciganda jumps up to 14th because of her win.