ST. ANDREWS, Scotland - Carlota Ciganda's opening round at the Ricoh Women's British Open did not pan out quite as well as she would have liked on Thursday but the Spaniard was in remarkably positive mood, mainly because of the excellent form she has produced coming into the year's fourth major championship.
The 27-year-old from Pamplona has recorded five top-10s in her last seven starts, including a tie for fifth at the U.S. Women's Open, a run of consistency that owes a great deal to the calming influence of her experienced caddie Terry McNamara and a lot of hard work on the range.
"I've been playing pretty good," Ciganda told LPGA.com after getting to two-under through 12 holes in the opening round on the picturesque Kingsbarns Golf Links before losing momentum as she endured a weather delay and a messy finish to card a two-over 74.
"I've been having a good plan in my head and just playing the course with my caddie Terry. He's really good on the courses. He knows so much and has lots of experience.
"I have also been hitting the ball good, and working hard with my coach, Jorge Parada. So it's been a little bit of everything - my coach, Terry and playing good."
Veteran McNamara caddied for Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam for much of her stellar career, and his working relationship with Ciganda has been a perfect fit ever since they linked up in the Bahamas at the start of the 2016 season.
"He's very, very calm," Ciganda, a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour with McNamara on her bag, said of her caddie. "He has lots of patience and he reads the courses really good. He's also a great person and we are having a great time together.
“As soon as I began working with him, I knew that’s what I needed because of the way he was talking to me, the way he was on the course and because of all his experience. I also needed someone out there who knew how to play all the strategies, especially over the last few holes, the last days of tournaments.
"All is now good," smiled Ciganda, who recruited Parada as her swing coach in 2015 after mourning the loss of her long-time mentor Rogelio Echeverria, who began teaching her when she was just five years old.
TWO WEATHER DELAYS
Thursday's opening round at Kingsbarns favored the morning starters with calm, sunny conditions on the spectacular eastern coast of Fife but Ciganda was among the afternoon wave of players who had to contend with two weather delays and, at times, driving rain.
Still, she made a solid start as she got to two under through 12 holes before "a few silly mistakes" dropped down the leaderboard.
"I was hitting fairways and greens and then I just hit two bad shots and ran up a double (bogey) on 13," said Ciganda, who won her maiden LPGA Tour title at the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship last October before adding the Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Invitational one month later. "Then I made two bogeys in the last three holes. That's golf.
"We made a few silly mistakes out there but it's a links course and anything can happen. If you play in the morning, there's always less wind. Let's see if I can put out a low one tomorrow.
“I like the challenge of links-course golf but I would have liked tougher conditions, more wind. Today was pretty easy."