Ladies British: Munoz Wins All-Spain Final

HARLECH, WALES (June 13, 2009)--Azahara Munoz from Malaga, playing in the tournament for the last time before turning professional, won the 107th Ladies British Open amateur championship under blue skies and brilliant sunshine this afternoon at the Royal St David’s Golf Club links, Harlech in North Wales. The 21-year-old, who won the British girls title at Lanark in 2004, beat her 19-year-old compatriot, Carlota Ciganda from Pamplona by 2 and 1 in the first all-Spanish final in the tournament’s history.

The pair had dominated the tournament, heading the match-play qualifiers with eight-under-par totals of 138. Ciganda’s better second round had earned her the No 1 seeding role, and Munoz the No 2 berth. So the erstwhile Arizona State University team-mates – Azahara graduated after four years last month – were on course to meet in the final from the start.

Munoz, who had been five under par in winning her morning semi-final against Caroline Masson (Germany), was three under par at the finish of a final which was studded with 11 birdies.

Ciganda showed her long-hitting powers early in the final, hitting her first drive some 290yd but the opening hole (425yd) was halved in par 4s.

However, the younger Spaniard drove it even further at the 334yd second – a tee shot of an estimated 320yd – and Ciganda pitched and putt for a winning birdie 3 to go one up. After the long third was halved in birdie 4s, Munoz squared the final by holing a 6ft putt for a birdie 2 at the short third.

Ciganda’s big hitting found big trouble at the fifth where she drove deep into the rough. After unsuccessfully attempting to get her ball back onto the fairway, she conceded the hole and a one-hole lead to Munoz who was not required to play a second shot after a good, straight drive down the fairway.

Ciganda quickly levelled matters again with a birdie 3 at the sixth but she failed to make par for the second time in three holes when she bogeyed the par-5 seventh and went back to one down..

Ciganda’s long-hitting had been the feature so far. She got home at the 497yd par-5 eighth with a drive and a six-iron after a tee shot well over the 300yd mark – but Munoz was not to be intimidated by her good friend and erstwhile Arizona State University team-mate. She managed to halve the hole in birdie 4s. Ciganda hit her tee shot left of the green at the short ninth and then thinned her second shot through the green. She took three to get on and conceded the hole to Munoz who had set up a cast-iron par 3.

And so Munoz turned for home with a three-hole lead with approximate three-under-par figures. In her morning semi-final, Munoz had been four up after nine on Caroline Masson with roughly 33 to the turn so Azahara had played the front nine twice in a combined seven under par – great scoring on the last day of an amateur major.

Munoz suffered her first bogey of the final at the 10th and Ciganda, with a par 4, was able to get back to one down.

After halves at the 12th and 13th (in birdie 4s), Ciganda squared the contest with her sixth birdie of the round at the par-5 13th. After the short 14th was halved in par 3s, Ciganda played a great third shot from an awkard lie in the rough, about 100yds out, to within 6ft of the flagstick. But she could not hole the birdie putt at the par-5 15th. Munoz, home with two solid wood shots, two-putted for a winning birdie 4 to regain a one-hole lead with three to play.

Both players were bunkered at the 16th which was halved in bogey 5s as the tension mounted.

Again both Ciganda and Munoz found sand – with their approach shots – at the 17th. From an awkward lie, Ciganda came out to 20ft while Munoz played a splendid recovery from the bunker to within 2ft. Ciganda failed to hole her putt for a par and Mujnoz tapped in for a 2 and 1 victory.


1st hole: Ciganda 4. Munoz 4.
2nd hole: Ciganda birdie 3, Munoz 4. Ciganda 1 up.
3rd hole: Ciganda birdie 4, Munoz birdie 4.
4th hole: Ciganda 3, Munoz birdie 2. Match all square.
5th hole: Ciganda conceded hole to Munoz. Munoz 1 up.
6th hole: Ciganda birdie 3, Munoz 4. Match all square.
7th hole: Ciganda bogey 6. Munoz 5. Munoz l up.
8th hole: Ciganda 4, Munoz 4.
9th hole: Ciganda double bogey 5. Munoz 3. Munoz 2 up.
Munoz out in an approximate 34 (three under par) to Ciganda’s 38/39 (two/three over par).
10th hole: Ciganda 4. Munoz bogey 5. Munoz l up.
11th hole: Ciganda 3, Munoz 3.
12th hole: Ciganda 4, Munoz 4.
13th hole: Ciganda birdie 4, Munoz 5. Match all square
14th hole: Ciganda 3, Munoz 3.
15th hole: Ciganda 5, Munoz birdie 4. Munoz 1 up.
16th hole: Ciganda bogey 5, Munoz bogey 5.
17th hole:Ciganda bogey 5, Munoz 4. Munoz wins 2 and 1

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