NAPLES, Fla – Around this same time each season, there’s one name that repeatedly finds it’s way to the top of LPGA leaderboards.
The Spaniard has won twice on the LPGA Tour, with both her victories coming in the final five events of the 2016 season. Again this year, Ciganda is making a late season charge and sits solo third heading into the final round of the last event of the year. It’s an event Ciganda nearly won in 2014, but lost in a playoff to Lydia Ko.
“It's a tough course but I like it,” Ciganda said after a 69 on moving day at the CME Group Tour Championship. “No bogeys. I was happy with that. I think it was tough with the wind; hit lots of greens and a few birdies on the par-5s.”
True to form, Ciganda has eight top 10 finishes this season. She picked up three of those in the last month during the Tour’s swing through Asia.
“I’ve been hitting more greens. My swing feels more consistent,” Ciganda said. “It’s been a great year overall. The second half, it's been really good, especially the Asian events and this one.”
What’s the reason behind the late season surge?
When Ciganda is done for the year, she is done. At the end of each season, she returns home to Spain to relax with friends and family and regularly puts her clubs away for four to five weeks. She doesn’t practice. She doesn’t tinker. She doesn’t tweak anything. So when it comes time to prepare for a return to the Tour in the New Year, it takes Ciganda several months to, quite literally, get back into the swing of things.
Although Ciganda is aware that her slow start hampers her season, she has no intention of changing her yearly tradition.
“The year is so long. I have to really rest mentally,” Ciganda said. “It's important to have that balance. It's been working for me, so that's what I'm going to do.”
Sunday will be Ciganda’s final round of golf for the year. She’s eliminating the stops she used to make on the Ladies European Tour in Dubai and an event back home in Spain. It’s been a long year and Ciganda is ready to return home and get a jump-start on her off-season.
“I'm happy, and happy that it's ending but a little sad also, because I would like to keep playing like this.”