THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS | Spain’s Carlota Ciganda started the first major of the year with four birdies and two bogeys, for a two-under 70 to sit on the first page of the leaderboard (T8), three strokes behind the first-round leader, Peiyun Chien from Chinese Taipei.
“I played pretty solid today,” said the 32-year-old after a round with very few mistakes. “I did not miss any greens on the first nine and, after a couple of three-putts on 10 and 11, finishing with birdie leaves me a good taste in my mouth.”
Ciganda’s length from the tee and fading ball flight served her well on Club at Carlton Woods course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, the new site of the Chevron Championship.
“I hit great tee shots and my second shots into the green were also quite good. Two-under is a great score on this golf course,” said Ciganda, who finished T-5 on her last tournament, the DIO Implant LA Open.
The 11-year veteran of the LPGA Tour, who grew up in Northern Spain -- the same area as golf legend and mentor Chema Olazabal and world number one and recent Masters winner Jon Rahm— is aspiring to win the first major for Spanish women’s golf.
Ciganda has collected nine top 10s in her 54 majors, finishing third at the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open, the 2020 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the 2022 Amundi Evian Championship. Her two T4s at the Chevron Championship, in 2015 and 2019, could be a premonition for another great result.
She has put the work during the pre-season. “At this level, even one-percent improvements help. It is a combination of small improvements and the fact that I love to compete, and I am eager to accomplish great things,” said Ciganda.
And she has the experience and the discipline to deal with the hard weather and conditions at Carlton Woods: “You just need to stay patient and assume the chance of suspensions and long days. It is important to hydrate, eat well and preserved the energy to stay focused until the end,” she said at the end of the first day.