Dubai: Carlota Ciganda will be taking a crack at matching the long-standing record of Laura Davies when she competes in the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, to be held at the Majlis course from December 5 to 8.
The 22-year-old Spanish prodigy needs a strong finish, if not victory, to follow in the footsteps of Davies, the only player to have won the Ladies European Tour’s Order of Merit and Rookie of the Year titles in the same year back in 1985.
With just two events remaining to be played, Ciganda currently leads the Tour’s ISPS Handa Order of Merit with €232,656 (Dh 1.1 million) in earnings, but has Germany’s Caroline Masson (€210,831) hot on her heels as the battle for the “Player of the Year” enters final stretch at the Emirates Golf Club.
Masson will not be competing in the Hero Women’s Indian Open, the penultimate event on the Tour because of her Q-School engagements and her absence could well work in favour of Ciganda. However this will still not guarantee her the Order of Merit title since the Omega Dubai Ladies offers a huge purse of €75,000 to the winner.
For me it’s good that Caroline is not playing in India, but there is still Dubai and a lot of money, so if I don’t play well and she plays well, she can beat me easily,” said Ciganda, who is enjoying an outstanding rookie season with wins in the Netherlands and China.
“It would be nice to wrap up the season with a Grand Double, but still there is everything to play for. I am really looking forward to playing in Dubai. Though it will be my first visit to the city, I do know from friends the tournament is very well run and it’s fun playing there,” said Ciganda, who also leads the Ladies European Tour stats for lowest stroke average with 70.5 as well as greens in regulation (79.7 per cent) and total birdies (181), assuring her the Rookie of the Year title.
The highly-rated Ciganda will have her work cut out with the likes of defending champion Alexis Thompson, Michelle Wie, Shanshan Feng and Christina Kim from the LPGA Tour joining the star-studded field in the season-ending event.
“With so much at stake coming down the line for frontrunners, we can expect a great finish to the tournament,” said Mohammad Juma Bu Amim, Vice-Chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi, promoters and organisers of the €500,000 event.
‘golf in DUBAi’ is backed by Omega as the title sponsor and Dubal (Dubai Aluminium) as the sponsor. The co-sponsors are CNN, Drydocks World & Maritime World, Emirates NBD, Gulf News, Mercedes-Benz and wasl while Dubai Duty Free, Carpetland and Motivate are the Patrons.