Carlota Ciganda, winner of the LET OOM and Rookie of the Year in 2012

Carlota Ciganda is aiming to become the first home winner of the Spanish Open when she tees off at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid from Thursday.  

Ciganda arrives in the capital ranked fourth on the Ladies European Tour’s ISPS HANDA Order of Merit having recently earned her third LET title at the UniCredit Ladies German Open presented by Audi.

Second in 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2011, then fifth in the latest edition held in Tenerife in 2012, the 23-year-old from Pamplona has an outstanding record at the Spanish Open and is hoping to become the first player in the tournament’s 30-year history to seal a home win.

“It would be such a great experience for me. I won all the Spanish tournaments so it would be really nice to win this one, especially playing in front of a home crowd; my family is coming and a few friends. I would love to win this event because I think it’s special, playing in your home country.  I would love it,” said Ciganda.

“I think it is going to help because when there are people here, I really like it, it motivates me, so the more people that come the better. I just want to invite everyone to come here and watch the tournament. The more crowd the better.”

Ciganda, a virtual shoe-in for next month’s Solheim Cup, is currently third on the European rankings from which the top four will qualify for the team on 4 August at St Andrews.

On her chances of making the team, she said: “I think I’m close but there are still three events and the British counts double so you never know. Anything can happen. I think I see myself on the team but I prefer to wait. Let’s hope I can play well this week and if I can make a top ten I think I will be there for sure.”

The Open de Espana 2013, 2020 Madrid – Comunidad de Madrid, is a showcase for the Madrid 2020 Olympic Games bid. The IOC will elect the host city on 7 September 2013 in Buenos Aires.

Ciganda added: “It would be great. To have the Olympics in your own country, for someone that plays any kind of sport, living that experience with all the other athletes and people from your country, it would be such a good thing for Madrid.”

All 16 of the Spanish players in the field of 126 competitors will be looking to take their place in the limelight.  Their aim is to ensure that a Spanish name is etched on the trophy which was inaugurated in 1982 at Las Aves, (now Valderrama).

Ciganda is joined by former LET champions María Hernández, Tania Elósegui, Ana Belén Sánchez and Raquel Carriedo, making a comeback, while Laura Cabanillas, Ana Larrañeta, Emma Cabrera-Bello and María Beautell will also be staking their claim to the title.

Other Spanish players also in the hunt are Carmen Alonso, Mireia Prat, Marta Silva, Adriana Zwanck and Virginia Espejo – a rookie professional from Madrid.

Patricia Sanz, who just turned professional after contributing to Spain’s gold medal at the European Team Championships, is playing in the tournament along with her sister Marta Sanz, a member of the Spanish team.

Several members of this diverse group of Spanish contenders have come close to winning their national Open: Elósegui tied for second in 2009 and 2011; Raquel Carriedo in 2002, Sánchez in 2003 and Cabrera-Bello tied for second in 2009.

They will be joined by four previous winners of the Spanish Open with England’s Melissa Reid (2011), Becky Brewerton of Wales (2009); and Australians Nikki Garrett (2007) and Stacey Keating (2012).

Open de España Femenino 2013, Madrid 2020 – Comunidad de Madrid

The Open de España Femenino 2013 is sponsored by Turismo de Madrid, Consejería de Educación, Juventud y Deporte de la Comunidad de Madrid and Federación de Golf de Madrid. Assisting in the promotion of the tournament are Candidatura Madrid 2020, Turespaña, Reale Seguros and Madrid Network.

Fact file: Club de Campo Villa de Madrid

Carretera de Castilla, km 2,5. 28040 MadridInaugurated: 1932Designer: Javier Arana

Government sponsors: Turismo de Madrid, Consejería de Educación, Juventud y Deporte de la Comunidad de Madrid and Federación de Golf de Madrid.

Collaborating sponsors: Candidatura Madrid 2020, Turespaña, Reale Seguros and Madrid Network.

Promoter: Real Federación Española de Golf