Lopez will play the first round at Club de Golf Mexico against her house guest for the week
Local favorite Gaby Lopez could not stop laughing when she saw that she had been drawn against her good friend Carlota Ciganda in the first round of this week's Lorena Ochoa Match Play in Mexico City.
Spaniard Ciganda, the 'defending champion' after winning last year's stroke-play event at the same venue, is being hosted by Lopez at her home this week but their close friendship will have to be set aside on Thursday for their intriguing matchup at Club de Golf Mexico.
"It's certainly unexpected news but it's fun," a beaming Lopez told LPGA.com after being told that she would take on Ciganda in the first round in the Se Ri Pak bracket. "I like her a lot. She is one of my best friends on tour and I am really grateful that I have been sharing this LPGA experience and professional golf life with her. But I am here this week to play anyone.
"It's a little surprising after all the rankings, and the way it has been moving week by week, that it now happens that we will play against each other in the first round! We all know that friendship comes first but we are going to leave our friendship aside tomorrow and let's see who wins. It will be the one that plays better."
Lopez, who will be making her ninth start of the 2017 LPGA season this week, is Mexico’s top female golfer as the world No. 98 but she will be going up against a player who sits 75 spots above her in the Rolex Rankings.
"Carlota is a birdie maker and I feel I am the same way," said Lopez, who was handed a sponsor invite to come back to Mexico City to compete in the Lorena Ochoa Match Play at her home course. "It's just knowing a little more what the ball is going to do on the green."
Lopez should have an advantage when it comes to course knowledge but two-time LPGA Tour winner Ciganda clearly has a huge comfort level at Club de Golf Mexico, having finished second in the 2015 Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Invitational before winning the 2016 edition by two strokes.
"I love this course," said Lopez, who finished no worse than tied for 26th in three appearances at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational as a stroke-play event. "It's for straight hitters and I have been improving a lot for a long time.
“From last year to this year, I feel like a completely different player so I am very, very excited about this next challenge. We will see what happens. I am very happy to be back here on this course which I love so much, to represent Mexico and to see all my friends.”