Ciganda exacts some revenge on Shadow Creek

Carlota Ciganda watches her fairway shot at the ninth hole during the second day of round-robin ...

Nobody would blame Carlota Ciganda if she skipped the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play given what happened to her at Shadow Creek in the inaugural edition last spring.

Instead, Ciganda is getting her revenge. A 3-and-1 victory over Pauline Roussin-Bouchard on Thursday moved Ciganda to 2-0 and on the brink of advancing to the weekend knockout rounds.

Last year, Ciganda went to the 18th hole tied in her opening match against Sarah Schmelzel. Ciganda won the hole — or so she thought — until a rules official told her she was being penalized for slow play. The penalty was loss of the hole, making Schmelzel the winner, that valuable point taken away from Ciganda by a rules official.

The European Solheim Cup standout swears she’s put the event behind her.

“I’m just trying to play my game,” she said Thursday. “What happened happened. Yeah, it was tough at the moment. I think you just learn and try to take all the positives, although at that time I didn’t think there were many.”

She had plenty of positives Thursday against Roussin-Bouchard. One down after 10 holes, Ciganda made birdies on Nos. 11 and 13 and took the lead, then won it when Roussin-Bouchard made mistakes on 15 and 17.

“I think you have to be very patient out there,” she said of Shadow Creek. “I think it’s tricky course. Usually when you think about match play you think about birdies, and I think this course requires patience, hit good shots, and you can win some holes with pars.”

Ciganda is among a dozen players to open the tournament with two victories, a group that includes Tiffany Chan and Jenny Shin, local players carrying the banner for Las Vegas. Chan, playing as a sponsor invite, beat another Las Vegas player, Alison Lee, 4 and 3. Shin started fast and rolled over Hannah Green 5 and 3 to take control of her bracket.

Chan gets a Friday match with Amy Olson, a 1-up winner of No.2 seed Atthaya Thitikul, in a match that will decide their bracket. Shin plays Haeji Kang in an attempt to move on, and she’ll continue to take a conservative approach.

“I don’t think this golf course is something you can be aggressive with,” Shin said, especially with the wind kicking up like it did for most of the afternoon Thursday. “I don’t think the game plan changes regardless of the format.”

Chan agreed that nothing changes for her on Friday.

“I’m not trying to change anything,” she said. “Every match is going to be tough, so I just got to keep my composure and have fun tomorrow.”

Others taking perfect marks into Friday include Madelene Sagstrom, Gabby Lopez, Lilia Vu, Hye-Jin Choi, Paula Reto, Caroline Masson and Eun-Hee Ji, who rallied on the back nine to beat Danielle Kang 2 and 1.

Plenty of other players remain in contention, as Ally Ewing proved last year by getting through her pod with a loss before running the table in the weekend knockout rounds.

Among them is Emma Talley, who takes a 1-0-1 mark into her match with Lauren Stephenson where she’s looking for a Hollywood ending.

“I think we’ll just go out there and have fun and — what do they say in the Hunger Games? May the odds be in your favor,” she said.

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at grobertson@reviewjournal.com.