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October 8, 2020

Carlota Ciganda

Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, USA

Aronimink Golf Club

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: We are here with Carlota Ciganda, who is tied for the lead at 2-under with four birdies and two bogeys on the day. It was a chilly morning, the sun is out, it's a beautiful day. You've got to be happy with the way you played here in the first round at Aronimink.

CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah, very sure, very happy with the 2-under, especially as you say it was very cold this morning. The ball wasn't flying much. The course is playing quite long, a little windy, so the conditions were quite tough. It's a course that you have to be very patient out there, try to hit fairways, try to hit greens, not to make many mistakes. Yeah, I'm very happy the way I played, the way I handled myself, very patient, and just trying to hit good shots, good attitude, and yeah, I made a few good putts coming in and very happy with the 2-under.

THE MODERATOR: Tell me about those putts if you don't mind and your four birdies. You had birdies on 3, 9, 15 and a nice one to close out on 18. Tell us the story of those birdies.

CARLOTA CIGANDA: 3, I hit a really good driver and I had a pitching wedge, like 115, 120 meters short. I hit it to like five feet past the pin and I just made the putt. 9 is a par-5 so I hit a driver a little on the right, hit it to like 70 meters, good lay-up, and I hit it to like 10 feet, so I played the hole very good, too.

And then on the back I made birdie on 15, was playing downwind, I tried to hit the driver quite hard and it went right to the rough and then I hit a good shot just to the front of the green and then I made a very long putt, like 15, 20 meters, so that was a plus. That was very good. And then it's always nice to finish with a birdie on the last, great driver, 9-iron to like 20, 25 feet and made the putt to finish the day at 2-under.

THE MODERATOR: Tell us if you can about the challenge of this golf course. We've heard it's such a long course and the wind and the cold doesn't help, but the challenge of this golf course as we're teeing it up here in this major?

CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah, I mean, if you play in October it's just a little chilly, so it's just cold in the mornings. The ball is not flying much. It's playing long. Usually we play this tournament in the middle of the summer, so I think the course should be more like not as green so the ball should run more, and the fairways should be running more.

I mean, I think it's easier to hit fairways, easier to hit greens because it's soft, but at the same time it's playing long, so I think there are good and bad things about both, but yeah, in the mornings it's very cold, so I mean, those 7:00 a.m. tee times are just -- they are tough.

Q. Was 15 playing a lot differently today than in the practice rounds because that hole is quite a bear.

CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah, for sure. The wind was helping quite a lot. I hit it in the rough and I hit a 7-iron to the green, but I think if I was in the fairway I would have hit a 9 or an 8, and in the practice rounds I hit a 4-iron to a back pin, so definitely like three-, four-club difference. That's a hole that you want to birdie or at least par today because it's playing, I think, easier than normal with the wind.

Q. How different did 10 play today compared to yesterday?

CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yes, they put the tee a little bit up, so with my driver I could hit it down the hill, so that helped a lot because I hit a 9-iron to the green. I mean, if you cannot hit it down there, it's a long hole. Yesterday into the wind I hit a 5-iron with a really good driver, so yeah, four-club difference, so playing shorter today.

Q. It's interesting because Gaby was the first player who tested positive with COVID and I know that you obviously battled COVID earlier this year. How long did it take you until you were feeling back to normal after COVID, and what are you hearing about how things are at home now in Spain?

CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah, yeah, so I kept testing positive for, I think, almost five weeks, and it took me to -- it took me over a month to recover like properly. I was fine after like two weeks but still a little tired. I was forgetting things, my memory wasn't great. But then, yeah, I started working out slowly. I lost some weight, as well. It was tough on my body for sure.

But yeah, finally I think I'm back to normal. I feel good again, good energy. But yeah, I think a month and a half for sure.

Q. What's it like in Spain right now?

CARLOTA CIGANDA: In Spain? I've been talking to my person, and I think it's spiking again. Where we live up in the north -- we live in a small town, so it's fine, but the closest city, Pamplona, I think they are not doing great, and then big cities like Madrid and other places, I think it's not great. Yeah, it's a little sad to see, and hopefully we can -- I don't know what we need to do.

Q. A lot of players on difficult courses talk about the need to stay patient. Does this golf course almost make you have to be patient?

CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah, you have to. I mean, I think it's a course that -- I mean, the winning score is going to be one digit, so I don't think it's going to be -- I'm thinking maybe 7-, 8-, 9-under max. So I think you have to be very patient. It's very easy to make bogeys out there, you miss a fairway, you miss a green, have to get up-and-down. You have only two par-5s. It's really hard to reach those two par-5s, so it's hard to make birdies.

And then the par-3s, they are playing tough. I mean, I hit a 4-iron on 8, I hit another 5-iron on 14, tough pin. I think you just have to be patient, otherwise this course is going to eat you. It's just how it is.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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