It was her tee shot on the par-5, 18th hole that ultimately spelled the end for Carlota Ciganda at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship after an impressive 7-under 64 that put her in the conversation on Sunday. The Spaniard went bogey-free, carding five birdies and an eagle on the par-5, 7th hole to post at 6-under overall and finish T3, tying her second-best finish in a major championship as Ciganda also finished T3 at the 2020 KPMG Women's PGA Championship and the 2022 Amundi Evian Championship. While she certainly regrets her choice of line on that final tee shot, Ciganda was still feeling plenty positive about how she played over the weekend at a challenging Baltusrol Golf Club and will carry plenty of momentum with her as she looks ahead to the next major championship in a couple of weeks.
"I wanted to be aggressive today. I thought I could have a low round on this golf course. I've loved it since the first time that I came here. It's tricky, but I think after the rain we had, I thought it was gettable, and I was trying to hit as many greens as possible," said Ciganda, who hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation on Sunday. "Today the putter was pretty hot, so very good start with those two birdies on 4 and 5. Great eagle on 7. Really long putt on 9 that I think that's almost a little bit of luck.
"Then, great shot on 10, made the putt. Great birdie on 13. Then 14, 15, we had the rain delay, so I had to come back and play the last three, which I thought a couple birdies I thought was going to be good to be there, maybe a playoff."
According to KPMG Performance Insights, this is Ciganda's seventh top-five finish in a major championship since 2015, the second-most of any player in that span behind Lexi Thompson who has 11. This week's T3 is also her eighth top-10 finish of the last two seasons, with two coming this year at the DIO Implant LA Open (T5) and Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards (5). In short, she's more than due to capture her third LPGA Tour victory and first, since the 2016 CitiBanamex Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Aeromexico and Delta. Ciganda is confident it will happen and will continue to knock on the door as much as she can until it's her time to push it open.
"I love playing. I love competing. It's not an easy game," she said. "I think you just have to keep going, and I think the more opportunities you create, it will happen eventually, so I'm just trying to be patient, keep playing. I know my game is good enough to win and to be up there. I love the majors. I love the challenge. I love tough courses. Hopefully, I can win one one day."