EVIAN-LES-BAINS – The junior golfers at Club de Golf Ulzama have a big reason to cheer. Their fellow club member, Carlota Ciganda, sits atop the leaderboard at the Evian Championship. Wearing the same shirt worn by members of her junior program back home in Spain, Ciganda carded 65 to share the first round lead at the season’s final major.
“They sent me a few, so I’m happy to wear them,” Ciganda said about the shirts she began wearing this week. “I like they have the Spanish flag, I’m very attached to Spain, so I really like them.”
The red logo features Ciganda’s likeness with her first name emblazoned underneath. On the collar and sleeves of her shirt are the colors of the Spanish flag, red and yellow.
“They decided they wanted to have my name on their shirts when they go play tournaments away from their region,” Ciganda explained.
The Spaniard is a great role model for the juniors to follow as she’s enjoyed both a decorated amateur and professional career. Ciganda twice won the European Ladies Amateur Championship as well as the British Ladies Amateur. In 2012, Ciganda joined both the Ladies European and LPGA Tours and has recorded five worldwide wins. But what’s missing is a major title.
“I just want to keep playing, just try my best,” Ciganda said. “I’ve been playing very good, so I know I’m close.”
Since 2012, Ciganda has four top 10s in major championships and half of those came this season. She finished third at the U.S. Women’s Open where she closed with a 69 for one of the few sub-par rounds on Sunday. And she quietly contended at Royal Lytham & St Annes where she finished T7 at the Ricoh Women’s British Open. What could be different about this week are the feelings Ciganda has about the course. Evian Resort Golf Club has received mixed reviews among players, but it’s a layout Ciganda loves.
“You have to play smart,” said Ciganda. “You have to play very good from the tee, the rough is quite thick. It’s important where you hit to the greens, because the greens are very sloped.”
Ciganda is making her seventh appearance in Evian, where she only once has cracked the top 20. But she loves the challenge of a tough test and is ready to conquer the challenging track.
“I think I have a good plan and I’m excited for the next three days.”
The juniors back home are excited, too.