Carlota Ciganda and Victor Garcia

Carlota Ciganda of Spain put herself into a strong position after posting the best round of the day, a third round of six under par 66, on a cooler, overcast morning at the Evian Masters presented by Société Générale.

The 22-year-old Ladies European Tour rookie from Pamplona ended the day in a large group at eight under par overall and two strokes behind leading pair of Inbee Park from Korea and Stacy Lewis of the United States.  

Ciganda started in the first group out from the 10th tee and carded five birdies against one bogey on the back nine for a total of 32 at Evian Masters Golf Club in France.

She then bogeyed the first, birdied the third and then picked up two more shots at the sixth and the seventh, finishing with two pars for a front nine total of 34 just as the heavens opened at around 12.30pm.

When asked the secret to her strong play, she said: “Today it was the putter. I played good shots but especially the putting, 26 putts. Then I started birdie, birdie on the first two; I started on the 10th hole.

“I made a bogey on 13 and then three birdies in a row on 15, 16, 17. I was playing pretty solid and hitting great shots from the fairway to the green and making putts. I was very comfortable. My family is here: my parents, my cousins, a few friends, so I’m happy that they are here and really like it when they are with me.”

She was being watched closely outside the ropes by family friend Victor Garcia, who is Sergio Garcia’s father and an occasional Senior and Champions Tour player.

She explained: “He just called me that he wanted to come and wanted to see me play. We are good friends with him and Sergio and my dad. He was like, I have a week off here, I want to come to the Evian Masters next week. Is it okay? I said, yes, it’s great for me. I don’t mind. So he is here. We are good friends, having a great time and I am happy that he is here. He sees my swing but he is not my coach. It’s nice to have him because he has a lot of experience, with Sergio, more than 15 years with him coaching and that’s fun.”

Ciganda is now in a prime position to challenge for her second victory on the Ladies European Tour this season after winning the Deloitte Ladies Open in Holland in early June, but she said: “I don’t think about the result I just try to enjoy playing every shot. Go shot by shot and try to enjoy the atmosphere, the golf course here; the village is very nice, everything is great, so I love it here. I will have fun and I don’t think too much.”

She will play with World No.6 Suzann Pettersen from Norway in the fourth last group during the final round on Sunday, teeing off at 12.16pm.

Carlota reads a putt on the eighth green