Match-play experience, players accustomed to winning tournaments and fiery passion are just a few things that will make fifth-seeded Spain a dangerous team at this year’s inaugural International Crown, July 24-27.
Spain’s trio of Azahara Munoz, Beatriz Recari and Carlota Ciganda are no strangers to match play, combining for a 10-4-2 mark at the last two Solheim Cups, both of which were won by Team Europe. Munoz comes into the International Crown with more than $3 million in career LPGA earnings and six top-10s in 2014.
The 2012 Sybase Match Play Championship winner, Munoz is 4-3-1 in two Solheim Cup appearances and teamed with Ciganda for a four-ball victory in Colorado last year. A two-time tournament winner on the Ladies European Tour, Munoz has amassed 24 career top-10s on the LPGA Tour and will be a strong link in the chain for Spain.
Munoz and Ciganda also have the experience of not only playing at the host site of Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md., but they led Arizona State to the 2009 NCAA team title there. Memories from that triumph could propel them to do great things in July.
Recari has three career LPGA victories and won an LET event in 2009. Two of her LPGA wins came last year, when she went 3-1-1 for Team Europe in the Solheim Cup and defeated Angela Stanford 2&1 in singles play.
Recari has struggled this season, missing six of nine cuts heading into this week’s U.S. Women’s Open, but playing with her compatriots again may help turn things around for the player with 19 career LPGA top-10s and more than $1.9 million in career earnings.
Ciganda was a perfect 3-0-0 at last year’s Solheim Cup, beating Morgan Pressel 4&2 in singles on the final day. Ciganda, who has two career LPGA top-10s, won twice on the LET in 2012 en route to the Rookie of the Year title and winning the Order of Merit.
The fourth member of Team Spain, Belen Mozo, also played in that 2009 NCAA Championship and led USC to a third-place finish. The 2008 NCAA individual champion, Mozo was a four-time All-American who won the Women’s British Amateur Championship and the British Girls Amateur Championship the same year.
Mozo has had a good summer so far, notching two of her three career LPGA top-10s, including a tie for fourth at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Canada earlier this month. The friendly Mozo will be good for team chemistry and will be a tough opponent inside the ropes.
Spain kicks off play on Thursday with a four-ball match against No. 4 Thailand, then follows up with a battle against top-seeded United States on Friday. The Spaniards may need a win over eighth-seeded Australia on Saturday to clinch a spot in the four-team semifinals.
This is the fourth of eight looks at the teams set to compete in the inaugural International Crown, July 24-27, at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md. LPGA.com will continue to roll out these features every Friday leading up to the four-day event, so stay tuned for more in-depth descriptions of each four-member team.
Topics: International Crown