Changes Pay Off For Ciganda
For more than five years Carlota Ciganda waited to get her first win on the LPGA Tour, but it’s been the past two which have been particularly difficult. After winning for the first time on Sunday at the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, Ciganda talked about the difficult journey she’s had over the last two years in coping with the death of her longtime coach Rogelio Echeverria, who she worked with for nearly two-decades. It was a relationship that began the day Ciganda first picked up a club.
“It was tough. It was very tough because was like my second dad. I did everything with him always on the golf course. He was always there when I had my weeks off. Always very close to his family,” Ciganda explained. “At the same time, it was a moment also for me to think. I think when these things happen it's always for the best. I have to thank him everything because I play golf because of him.”
Forced to find a new instructor, Ciganda began working Jorge Parada last year.
“He lives in Jacksonville and he's been very good for me. We speak the same language, so he's been really good to my golf swing,” Ciganda said. “I'm just very happy right now with my team, my family, and I just want to enjoy this moment. This tournament is for my coach. He's out there watching me.”
Ciganda also made a caddie change this season in search of someone with more experience. She split with Javi Urquizu after four years on her bag and ultimately found a partner in Annika Sorenstam’s longtime caddie, Terry McNamara, and says she was surprised when he wanted to work with her too.
“As soon as I work with him I knew that's what I needed because the way was talking to me, the way he was on the course, and the experience. I thought I needed someone out there that knew the courses and knew how to play like all the strategies, especially at last few holes, last days,” said Ciganda. “To be honest, I was impressed. I didn't think he wanted to work with me. I thought he was looking for someone better or whatever.”
Ciganda says McNamara’s positivity and ability to instill confidence are the traits that have help her most, and were perhaps the missing pieces Ciganda was needing to help her get that first win on Tour.
“Obviously with his career he had with Annika and other players, I think I have the best caddie out there,” Ciganda said. “I'm very lucky.”
Thailand in Mourning
A year of mourning has been declared in Thailand following the death of King Bhumibol with residents wearing black as a symbol of solidarity for the next 12-months. During Sunday’s final round at the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, players from Thailand, including Ariya Jutanugarn and Pornanong Phatlum, also wore black.
“I am planning to wear just for respecting the King until the last event of LPGA this year, which is CME,” Phatlum said. “But if I can, I'm going to continue wearing it for like maybe another month also.”
Phatlum says she feels like it’s just one of the little things she can do during her time on Tour to pay her respects and make her country proud.
“You know, like every action is just like hoping the King knows what we doing for the country. That's what the King was hoping for,” said Phatlum. “So what we been doing is just posting on Instagram and Facebook to just show the respect to people in Thailand. Just show them that we know what's going on, like that.”