Spain’s Carlota Ciganda fired a second round of 66 (-6) to hold the halfway lead at the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España.
The four-time LET winner has an excellent record in her national championship – recording seven top ten finishes in the seven she has played – and she continued that on day two at Los Naranjos Golf Club.
Ciganda got off to a great start with two birdies in her opening three holes, before adding another on the seventh to make the turn in 33.
The Spaniard rolled in another birdie on the 10th before an eagle on the 14th propelled her to eight-under-par for the tournament and top spot on the leaderboard.
“I’m very happy with my day, every time you make no bogeys it’s a great day. I was pretty comfortable out there, I hit some great shots and the putting was hot today, with four bridies and one eagle I’m very happy,” said the Solheim Cup winner.
Ciganda has recently made a change to her putting grip having sought advice from Ryder Cup winner Tommy Fleetwood and it seems to be paying dividends.
“I’ve been putting like this for the last three weeks now because I thought I needed a change, you’ve got to try different things when the putting isn’t working so I changed grip and it seems to be working and hopefully it keeps working for the next two days,” she explained.
“He [Fleetwood] told me a couple of things – I really like his stroke and how he moves his putter, so I’ve been watching a lot of videos and I think it’s helping me and it’s the way to go for me going forward.”
There will be two Spaniards in the last group out in the third round with Fatima Fernandez Cano one shot behind the leader and Ciganda is excited at the prospect.
She added: “It’s great for the Spanish people to have Spanish players up there, I played with Fatima yesterday, she’s a great player and really nice so it’s going to be a nice battle between the two of us.”
After being in a share of the lead overnight, Cano had another solid day on the course carding a round of 68 (-4) to move to seven-under-par.
The 26-year-old rolled in five birdies and one bogey to back up her first round of 69 and be in second place at the halfway stage.
“It feels great, I played really solid today and gave myself a few more birdie chances than yesterday and I missed quite a few coming in, but I can’t complain. Overall, my game feels very solid,” said Cano.
“There’s a little bit of pressure coming home and wanting to do well in front of my people, but in general I’m having a blast, even though I’m a little bit nervous being in the last group.
“She’s [Ciganda] somebody I’ve looked up to my whole career and she paved the way for people like me to play to continue our way onto the LPGA and compete at the highest level so to play with her is great, it’s like a dream come true to play in the Spanish Open alongside another Spaniard.”
France’s Anne-Lise Caudal, who was also in a share of the lead after round one, sits in third place three shots back from Ciganda on five-under-par.
The two-time LET winner made one birdie on the front nine, before dropping a shot at 13 but bounced back with birdies on 15 and 16 for her round of 70 (-2).
“I’m very happy with my round and very happy to be near the top of the leader board, it was quite a slow day with my first birdie of the day on the eighth and then I struggled a bit, but I made some nice birdies on the back nine to finish so I’m very happy,” said Caudal.
“I’m really enjoying being here in Spain and I love playing the Spanish Open. My plan is to score under-par every day, if you do that then you’ll be close to the top, and maybe a lower round to win, so I’m going to be patient and shoot under-par again tomorrow.”
Finland’s Ursula Wikstrom is in fourth place on four-under-par having fired a bogey-free 68 (-4) on day two in Spain.
“I was making some putts today and some longer putts too. I wasn’t hitting the ball perfectly, but I was making some nice putts which makes it easier and bogey-free means there weren’t that many mistakes,” said Wikstrom, who has son Erni on the bag this week.
“I have my family here with me. There are some people from the club I grew up at who live out here and then some other Finnish people too. It was quite nice to have them following me and cheering me on.”
Three players are tied for fifth place on three-under-par including one of the co-leaders from day one Manon De Roey.
The Belgian carded a level-par round of 72 and is joined by England’s Cloe Frankish and Spain’s Ana Pelaez, who shot 69 and 70 respectively.
Lina Boqvist produced one of the rounds of the day, matching Ciganda to fire a bogey-free 66 (-6) and move to a total of two-under-par at the halfway point.
The Swede sits in T8 alongside 2021 Race to Costa del Sol champion Atthaya Thitikul, two-time LET winner Maja Stark, Australian Whitney Hillier, three-time LET winner Nuria Iturrioz and 2007 Solheim Cup player Linda Wessberg.
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