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October 16, 2016

Carlota Ciganda

Incheon, South Korea

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on your first win on the LPGA Tour.

CARLOTA CIGANDA: Thank you so much.

THE MODERATOR: What does the win today mean for you?

CARLOTA CIGANDA: It means the world me. It's pretty nice to win here in Korea where women's golf is so big. I'm just so happy to get my first win here.

Thank you the sponsors and all the fans. It's very special because it's been a tough few years for me. My coach passed away two years ago and I had to look for a new coach. I changed caddies, too.

It's been a long journey, but at the same time it's really nice to get the win. I love competing and playing and being an athlete. I couldn't ask for a better life.

THE MODERATOR: In general, would you say your play is more aggressive, offensive or defensive, and how does it change when it's raining? Do you try to play a little bit more safe? Take some risks?

CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah, I think I'm more of an aggressive player. I like the risk. I like to go into the par-5s and have a lot of the fun doing that.

I always try to play, yeah, I mean, aggressive. My caddie, sometime he tells me, Let's play smart, let's do this, but he knows the way I am. I think with all the experience he has we had a really good plan out there and we tried to follow the strategy and just tried to play each hole at the time.

It was tough. It was windy at the end and a little bit of rain, so it wasn't easy. But I'm from the north in Spain which is cold and rainy in the winter, so I been practicing a lot in those conditions.

I feel very comfortable. The course is quite long and it's good for long ball hitters. The rough was big, so I think it was a really good week for me. I mean, I'm just so happy that I won today.

THE MODERATOR: One more question and I'll turn it over to the media. You played in the Olympics earlier in the summer, so it's been quite the year for you. For fans in Korea and beyond who may not be familiar with you, how do you want to be known as a golf professional here in Korea and beyond?

CARLOTA CIGANDA: I love playing. I love competing. When I am out there, I just want to play my best.

Then outside the golf course I like to have friends, go out, have fun.

Hopefully, I mean being I just like to fight until the end, never give up. I just love the game of golf because it's a lot of fun. You can always learn from each day just competing. It's so big here in Korea. Women's golf is such a big game.

Just really, really happy to win here. I don't know what else.

Q. You talked about all the things that have happened to you since 2012, and there have been a number of close calls. Internally has the pressure continued to build as you come close and haven't quite made it? What kind of relief is it now that you do have the win?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: To be honest, I was just thinking about each shot. When I made that double I was thinking about the result. I was just really happy with my caddie, Javi. He's helping me a lot. I'm just enjoying golf out there and just playing my best.

Obviously, yeah, I'm not going to lie, I was really nervous on the last three, four holes. But I was positive. I just tried my best and I tried to play each shot the best I could. So it's not that I was giving up or anything.

It's very special because it's been tough the last two years. At the same time, I like fighting and everything.

So, yes, very happy. I know in Spain everyone been following me. Yeah, I mean, very, very happy to win this.

Q. Have you found that you have put more pressure on yourself throughout the years, that you think, Gosh I should be winning and I'm not quite there?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I mean, I wanted to win. Before coming here I play in Europe two years and I won there I think three, four times. Yeah, I thought I was going to win here, obviously it's not easy. When you come here and there are so many good players, good young Koreans, so many young players that play so good.

So I think you have to enjoy life first, enjoy being out there, and then the win just comes to you. Like I think if you are really looking for the win it's tough because you put more pressure. I think when you let it happen, that's when it happens.

That's how I feel.

Q. The course you said played long. It favors the longer hitters. Also fairways are very wide. Do you think narrowing down the fairways would even the playing field and take the advantage away from the long hitters?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah, if they narrow the course obviously it's tougher, but I think they are pretty wide here. I hit a few drivers there; lots of 3-woods, too. I just like this course. I been playing here the last three, four years and I play good.

It was just nice to play with the thick grass. Yeah, I felt very comfortable the whole week. The greens were not holding, so obviously for short hitters it's a little tougher because you have second shots a little longer going into the greens.

Yeah, you need to make putts and play good golf anywhere, but I think this course is good for long hitters.

Q. Your coach obviously meant a lot to you. How old were you when you first started working together, and what did you miss the most the last two years not having him around?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I started playing golf when I was five years old in a golf course 30 minutes in Pamplona. He was my coach since the day I started, so for 19 years we worked together.

Then, yeah, two years ago he had a stomach ulcer. I think I was still playing in Europe or maybe half in Europe and half in the States. I left for a tournament and I came back and in five days he was pretty sick and he passed away.

It was tough. It was very tough because was like my second dad. I did everything with him always on the golf course. He was always there when I had my weeks off. Always very close to his family.

At the same time, it was a moment also for me to think. I think when these things happens it's always for the best. I have to thank him everything because I play golf because of him. At the same time, I think I'm stronger and I just try to fight. My family always support me, and I started with -- sorry.

I started with Jorge Parada last year. He lives in Jacksonville and he's been very good for me. We speak the same language, so he's been really good to my golf swing.

Also, I don't want to forget my caddie, Javi, who was with me for four years and was also very good. I'm just very happy. I need someone with experience, I think, and he's been always helping and always thinking that I could win. He always supported me.

I'm just very happy right now with my team, my family, and I just want to enjoy this moment. This tournament is for my coach. He's out there watching me.

Q. I have two questions for you: You are known as one of the long hitters on the tour along with Ariya and Suzann. Compared to them, what's your driving distance?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I think my driving average is 270 yards. I hit it low and a little fade, and I think Ariya, she hits it a little higher and draw, so maybe she can outdrive me most of the times.

Then, yeah, I hit very similar to Suzann. Maybe sometimes I hit a little farther, but we have very similar games.

Q. I understand your father and uncle are football players. Had you not become a golf player, would you have been interested in being a football player?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I've always been interested in sports. Growing up I played football, golf, tennis, everything. Yeah, my uncle played for exhibition in Spain. He played for 13 years, so we are very sportive active family. We love sports. All our dinners and lunch is always talking about sports, football, golf, tennis all the time.

I'm a big Rafa Nadal fan, so I don't understand life without sports. I love sports, and I'm very happy to play golf. I love watching anything on TV.

Q. Congratulations on your first win. As mentioned by one the other members of the press, you're a very long hitter. What's the secret behind that? That's the first question. Second question is: I understand that this is your third playoff. In the first two previous playoffs you didn't get the results you wanted. When you were standing on the 18th hole for the playoff, just before the tee shot, what went through your mind?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: What was the first question?

Q. Secret behind...
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah, to me, I think playing with my dad and his friends my whole life. I think playing with them when I was very little, I just wanted to hit the ball as far as them, so I think I was just trying to swing harder and trying to swing faster.

Then I like to eat lots of meat, protein, so I think that helps too. I think playing with them is the main thing.

And then third playoff on the LPGA, that's right. To be honest, I was just trying to think, Just play golf. I was happy no matter what. When you're in a playoff it means you had a really good week.

I was just trying to stay in the present and hit as best I could. In the end, it was so close. I think I was the lucky one today and I'm very happy.

Q. That was a pretty crazy final round. Can you just talk about the emotional swings you went through? How do you keep your head screwed on?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: To be honest, I didn't look at the leaderboard until I think it was on No. 12. I saw I was winning by 5. I wasn't expecting that. I was thinking the winning number maybe 15-under today.

Obviously I started playing very solid and the day wasn't easy. I just was thinking to myself, Just stay in the present. Try to hit the next shot the best I can.

I don't know, I mean, I don't think it was because I was afraid or I was -- it was just tough conditions. It's not easy, this course. The last few pins, they were tough. So I was happy no matter what, because I tried my best the four days. I think my attitude was good during the whole week just trying to have fun out there, trying to enjoy playing golf.

The last three, four holes I was pretty nervous. I was looking more and I was 1-up, and then I was on 18 I saw I was 1-down and I couldn't believe it. So it's just golf. Only one can win. Anything can happen in the last few holes.

It's been a great day for me obviously. Just golf.

Q. You mentioned Terry, your caddie. I understand that he used to work with Annika Sorenstam. Can you tell us more specifically when you started working with him? How has him coming on board helped your game overall, in what way? Second question is: Are there any Korean players in particular that you are close to?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: So this is my first year working with Terry. We started in Bahamas first tournament of the year. I wanted to try a couple caddies because I had one caddie until last year. As soon as I work with him I knew that's what I needed because the way was talking to me, the way he was on the course, and the experience.

I thought I needed someone out there that knew the courses and knew how to play like all the strategies, especially at last few holes, last days.

Yeah, I think he contact my national coach and then she told me. To be honest, I was impressed. I didn't think he wanted to work with me. I thought he was looking for someone better or whatever. So we started in Bahamas two weeks and then I tried another caddie in Singapore.

Then I knew I wanted to work with Terry, and I just call him and said we start in few weeks. This has been our first year. He's very positive on the course. He's always wanting me to think about things I want to focus, be very clear on the targets. He's always, yeah, very positive and gives you lots of confidence.

Obviously with his career he had with Annika and other players, I think I have the best caddie out there. I'm very lucky.

Then Korea friends, yeah, I mean, I'm close to So-Yeon Ryu. We went for dinner the other day; Korean barbecue place. I love playing with them. They are very polite. I like playing with them. They just hit the shot and they don't talk much, and I am pretty much the same.

I really like playing with them. I think once you get to know them they are very nice. I mean, I have good experience with all of them.

Q. Would you say that maybe your playing in Taiwan where you tied for 8th and there was a lot of rain that helped you today with the weather conditions? It was four days in a row, right, of rain there?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: To be honest, I like playing in tough conditions. Usually we play in really good weather, very nice courses. I been practicing a lot in worse conditions. When I play back home it's sometimes raining and windy. I like the tough days. I like playing in the rain and wind.

I'm strong, so I -- Taiwan was tough. Taiwan was very windy and it rained two days really hard. That was tough. I like playing in those conditions.

Q. What would you say makes this tournament distinct? It's known for being infamous for having very large galleries. We saw when you were on the 18th there were people lined up on the 9th as well. What's your overall impression of the tournament, and what do you think of all the large galleries here?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I love seeing the fans and I want to thank them for coming to support women's golf, because the weather wasn't great. So it's always nice to see a lot of people.

I just think there are so many good Korean players that I think it's so special for them that we play an LPGA tournament here. I know the Korean tour is big and they have lots of tournaments, but just players from all over the world I think they really enjoy watching us play.

I mean, I love coming here, especially in Asia, Korea, was because it's one of, I would say, the biggest countries in golf. I like it because they make us better players. I want to thank them for being so good.

They just want to try and keep working hard, and I mean, the golf, they just play so good. They're really good. Good short game, really good putters, and they hit very straight. I think it just make all the players get better and more competitive, and I love it.

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