Carlota Ciganda leads the LPGA Tour Ford

Ciganda kicked off the tournament with an impressive opening round of 64 strokes, tying for the lead in Arizona alongside another Spanish golfer, Azahara Muñoz. However, she slipped in the rankings after posting 71 strokes on Friday

by Andrea Gussoni
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Carlota Ciganda leads the LPGA Tour Ford
© Getty Images Sport - Douglas P. DeFelice / Stringer

Spanish golfer Carlota Ciganda shares the lead at the LPGA Tour Ford Championship alongside local player Sarah Schmelzel and South Korean Hyo Joo Kim, all carding 66 strokes on Saturday's round (six under par). After three rounds of play, they all hold a score of 201 strokes, totaling -15.

Carlota Ciganda, results

Ciganda kicked off the tournament with an impressive opening round of 64 strokes, tying for the lead in Arizona alongside another Spanish golfer, Azahara Muñoz. However, she slipped in the rankings after posting 71 strokes on Friday.

Far from being discouraged, the Spanish golfer, who has lived in Arizona for the past six years and is accustomed to the desert wind that picks up in the afternoon, delivered a stellar performance on Saturday (66), regaining three strokes on Joo Kim (69) and four strokes on Schmelzel (70), with whom she now shares the lead.

"I'm from northern Spain, and we have four seasons there, so it can be very cold, windy, or anything," said Ciganda. "So I think I'm ready to play in any condition, and I like it when it's a challenge." Indeed, it was a challenge after two days of perfect weather, as the low scores gave way to gusty winds that made putting on the greens of the Sevilla Golf and Country Club difficult.

One of the most affected players was Hannah Green, who led the leaderboard during yesterday's round at 14 under par but quickly fell back when the wind made it difficult to choose the right club and even keep the ball within the course boundaries.

She finished in 21st place at -11. Nevertheless, the leaders found a way to tackle the tough conditions: Ciganda had carded a couple of eagles before the wind started sending dust columns across the course, but she held on through a windy final nine to achieve a score of 201 strokes, 15 under par, in her quest to win for the first time since the 2016 KEB Hana Bank Championship in South Korea.

Another Spanish golfer, Azahara Muñoz, started the tournament in excellent form, tying for the lead after the opening round. However, her performance has declined, and after carding 68 strokes in the second round, she needed 71 strokes yesterday to complete the course, dropping to 6th place (tied with nine other golfers) with a score of 203 strokes, 13 under par.

Lpga Tour
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