Carlota Ciganda is one of a group of 14 Spanish players attempting to become the first home winner at the Open de España Femenino at La Quinta Golf Resort this week.
There has not been a Spanish winner of the event in its 30 year history, since its beginnings in 1982.
Ciganda, 21, from Pamplona, who made her professional debut at the Tenerife Matchplay in June, is one of the country’s brightest hopes and will play in a marquee group with Davies and Germany’s Caroline Masson for the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday.
Ciganda has finished as the best Spanish representative at several professional tournaments, including the 2007 Open de Espana, when she finished eighth and the 2008 Tenerife Ladies Open she was third, three shots behind the winner, Rebecca Hudson from England.
This year Ciganda played in the Deutsche Bank Ladies Swiss Open, Finnair Masters and UNIQA Ladies Open presented by Raiffeisen on the Ladies European Tour, finishing tied 42nd, tied 44th and tied 12th respectively.
An early win as a professional would mean she could skip LET Qualifying School in January, like her friend and compatriot Azahara Munoz, who won the 2009 Madrid Ladies Masters.
For now, Ciganda is keeping her expectations in check. “I just want to have fun. I have a great match and I’m very lucky to be playing with Caroline and Laura. I will learn from those great players and try my best,” said Ciganda, who played alongside Davies two years ago at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
“It’s really nice to be here because Spain is my home and being here, you feel really good. Everything is great: the course is great, the atmosphere; the organisation. I want to thank Alicia and Inigo because they always do a great job. I played in Tenerife and now I’m here. The organisation, the food, the buffet, is just perfect.
“I’m playing good. I’m playing the second stage next week in Florida for the LPGA so this is a good week to practice and I want to do my best. I will focus on this week and then next week. I’m very happy to be here and my dad is here, some friends, so it’s great. My brother is caddying for me.”
After LPGA Qualifying School next week, the Ulzama member will stay in Arizona and play three events on the Cactus Tour and then the Arizona Open, before heading home in October.
Other Spanish players in the field include Tania Elósegui and Marina Arruti of San Sebastian, Emma Cabrera-Bello from Gran Canaria and Laura Cabanillas from nearby Benahavis.
Raquel Carriedo has received an invitation and will make her first Tour appearance since the 2006 Open de España Femenino, while there are also two amateurs in the event: Mireia Prat and Teresa Caballer.
The LET members are delighted to be back in the sunshine of the Costa del Sol, one of the most important tourism destinations in Europe.
They are especially grateful for the support of the Patronato de Turismo de la Costa del Sol as the main sponsor and the event Promoter, Deporte & Business, as well as the Real Federación Española de Golf, la Real Federación Andaluza de Golf and La Quinta.
The list of sponsors also includes Reale Seguros, Henderson, Seat and Viajes Halcón and providers Bezoya, Bifrutas, Callaway, Meliá, Bahlsen, AVIS, Lacoste y Kyocera.