Before playing alongside Carlota Ciganda in the first round of the Cambia Portland Classic, U.S. Solheim Cup captain Juli Inkster weighed in on the Spaniard’s potential contribution to Team Europe in the upcoming matches at Gleneagles.
“Carlota is an amazing player. I think she's probably the best player on the team. She's just got so much talent,” Inkster said.
“It means a lot, from someone like her with all the experience she’s achieved in the world of golf. I’m very happy she said that,” Ciganda told LPGA.com after her opening 68.
Ciganda has been in the top 30 in the world since the 2017 Solheim Cup and at No. 12 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, she is Europe’s highest ranked player heading into Gleneagles. She’s been there despite not winning in that stretch. Her last victory came in November 2016 at the Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
But Ciganda has maintained perspective despite the lack of wins. The eight-year LPGA Tour veteran hasn’t added any additional pressure on herself to lift her third career trophy.
“I don’t want to think too much about it, the more you think, the less it’s going to happen,” she said. “So I think I just want to give myself options, be in the top 10 as much as I can.”
She has accomplished that feat 23 times since her last victory, including a top-five finish in Canada last week. An opening 68 at Columbia Edgewater Country Club on Thursday puts Ciganda in position to chase her fourth consecutive top 10 in Portland.
“I think a top 10 is good every week,” she said. “Of course, I would like to win a few more times, I don’t need to, I think I’m heading in the right direction. I think lots of good things, so hopefully it will come sooner than later.”
Ciganda isn’t considering any of those results when it comes to the effort to take the Solheim Cup back at Gleneagles.
“When it comes to Solheim, everything starts from zero,” she said. “You can have a great year but you have to be humble and try to play your best. Obviously the Americans are always really good, have a strong team and always tough to beat them.”
After the round, Ciganda went to the range, hitting balls next to Inkster, tuning up for their 1:21 p.m. time on Friday. And for the matches in Scotland to come.