Carlota Ciganda completed a wire-to-wire victory for her sixth LET title at Club de Golf Terramar on Sunday, despite losing her overnight lead with eight holes remaining at the Estrella Damm Ladies Open presented by Catalunya.
The Spanish star, who had previously won the event in 2019, held a four-stroke advantage heading into the final round and seemed to be on the cusp of a comfortable victory, but the five-time Solheim Cup player said afterwards, “Winning is never easy,” and she had to dig deep to hold off the chasing pack.
Argentinian Magdalena Simmermacher, who began the day five shots off the pace, picked up shots at the first and third holes and then made a run of four straight birdies from the eighth through to the 11th to gain the outright lead after Ciganda double bogeyed the ninth hole.
However, a three-putt bogey from Simmermacher on the long 12th hole ended her rally and from that point, Ciganda fought for every single shot and cries of “Vamos” echoed around the course.
Ciganda birdied the 12th and made a great sand save at the 13th, holing a clutch putt from 20 feet. Although she lipped out and made a bogey on 14, she closed out in some style, with an eagle on 16, a birdie on 17 and then a bogey on 18 for a final round of 70 an a 72-hole total of 270, 18-under-par.
A relieved Ciganda was on cloud nine after lifting another title on home soil, having also won the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España in November. She said: “I love playing here in Spain and winning here is always special. My family is here and I have lots of support. There is always extra motivation to win here and I love it: it’s great.
“Winning is never easy. I started with a birdie on the first hole, bogeyed number two and then good birdies on the par fives. I just hit a bad tee shot on nine and that cost me a double. It was a little shaky and it wasn’t easy but I’m very happy with how I handled myself. That eagle on 16 was amazing and then a birdie on the next one.
“I looked at the leaderboard on 11 and I just thought, if you do what you need to do, you are going to be fine. I didn’t look too much, but I did see on 17 that I was two or three ahead, so that was nice.”
Scotland’s Laura Beveridge, who fired a 66, ended two strokes behind for her career best finish of second, a week after her tie for fourth in the Amundi German Masters.
Beveridge said: “I’ve just really enjoyed this week from the word go. I’ve had my husband, Keil, on the bag, and we’ve been working a lot on rhythm and how I am on the golf course, trying to be super relaxed. I think Spain is a perfect place to do that, you know, have a plate of tapas in the evening and maybe a glass of wine. I just took it easy this week.
“My putting has improved and I’m more comfortable on the golf course. Everyone takes time to find themselves and how they are as a pro and it’s just nice being me on the course. I can show emotion, react how I want to, I’m quite friendly and chatty on the golf course and it’s just accepting that that’s the way I want to play. It’s nice that I can now perform within myself.”
Simmermacher and Elin Arvidsson of Sweden finished in joint third on 15-under-par.
Arvidsson, who scored her best ever round of 64, containing eight birdies, said afterwards: “I started off with five straight pars and the girls in my group were making birdies and I just tried to stay patient and kept telling myself that chances would come. I think that was the best that I could have done, to stay in the moment. I made a good sand save on 10 which got it rolling a little and then I reached 12 in two and just had an easy two-putt, so I made a few putts and hit it close.”
Simmermacher, who closed with a 68, commented: “I played really well all day and in the middle of the round I had a good birdie run going on. I would just step over the ball and make the putt, but then the three-putt on number 12 put me down a bit. I played good golf for the rest of the round but didn’t make the putts. I had some good saves and my brother, Santiago, was watching from outside the ropes. He said that I was still going for the pins on every hole and that’s why I had some really tough up and downs. Once I had lost the lead, I wanted to get it back, so I kept going for the pins and I ended up in the worst places possible, but I managed to save pars from a lot of places, so I’m happy.”
Sweden’s Maja Stark finished in solo fifth place, extending her lead in the season-long Race to Costa del Sol, while Manon de Roey of Belgium ended in sixth with a further four players in a tie for seventh position: Anne Lise Caudal of France, Lydia Hall of Wales and Spanish pair Ana Pelaez Trivino and Nuria Iturrioz.