ALWOODLY GOLF CLUB (June 17, 2007) -- Carlota Ciganda, only recently turned 17 years of age, beat Anna Nordqvist from Eskilstuna, Sweden by 4 and 3 in the 18-hole final.
Carlota is the fourth Spanish player in the past seven years to win the title, following in the footsteps of Marta Prieto (2001), Elisa Serramia (2003) and Belen Mozo last year.
It was the second year in a row that Miss Nordqvist had lost in the final.
Carlota, the leading qualifier for the match-play stages, was five under par for the 15 holes but was one down or square for the first eight holes.
She started her surge to become champion by winning the ninth with a birdie 2 to square the match.
Then Carlota won the 10th with a bogey, the 12th with a birdie, the 13th with a birdie, and the 15th with a par.
The Spanish teenager, who had the lowest handicap of anyone in the field of 144 (+4.8 at the time of entry), had seven single putts.
“I’m so excited,” she said. “I didn’t believe at the start of the week that I could be the champion.”
There was an abundance of quality play over the first nine holes, both players covering the outward half in approximate three-under-par 34 strokes.
Nordqvist drew first blood by holing a 10ft birdie putt at the first but Ciganda came straight back at her Swedish opponent by holing an 8ft birdie putt to square the contest on the second green.
The par-5 third hole was halved in birdie 4s and the fourth in par 4s.
Nordqvist regained the lead with a 5ft birdie putt at the fifth but bogeyed the next to allow Ciganda to win the hole with a par 4 and get back on level terms.
Ciganda looked likely to lose the short seventh when she was plugged in a greenside bunker but she played an expert recovery from the sand to within 5ft and holed the putt to salvage a half in 3.
Nordqvist did regain the lead, however, with a birdie – her fourth of the outward half – at the long eighth.
Ciganda birdied the short third to reach the turn all square.
There was a rare dip in the quality play at the 10th when both players found bunkers with their second shots. Both on the green in three, Miss Nordqvist's first putt charged past the hole and she missed the return. Ciganda was able to win the hole with a bogey 5 to go one up.
The short 11th was halved in 3s before Ciganda birdied the 12th to go two up.
The Spanish teenager was now on a roll. She holed a 30ft birdie putt for another 3 to go three up at the 13th.
Nordqvist looked like she was making a comeback after holing a 30 ft putt across the 180 yard 14th green for a birdie two, but Ciganda followed her in from 15 feet to halve the hole and was now three up with four to play.
They both missed the green at the par 4 15th. Miss Norqvist putted first from just off the front and went five feet past. Ciganda played a delicate little pitch to three feet. Nordqvist missed her putt and Ciganda slotted hers to win the match by 4 and 3.
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