Carlota Ciganda, of Spain, hits from the bunker on the...

Carlota Ciganda, of Spain, hits from the bunker on the fifth hole during the final round of the LPGA Portland Classic golf tournament in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023. Credit: AP/Craig Mitchelldyer

CASARES, Spain — The lone Spaniard on the European team, Carlota Ciganda is bracing for a week like no other at the Solheim Cup at home.

The comfort of being home will meet the thrill of playing in front of her fans for the first time in the top team event in women’s golf.

“I think more than pressure it’s just going to be excitement, adrenaline, and just fun,” Ciganda said Wednesday. “I’m going to embrace it and I think it’s going to be great to have all the support from Spain, from my family, lots of members from my club. So I’m just going to try to go out there and enjoy."

The 33-year-old Spaniard is one of the most experienced players on the European team that will try to beat the United States for a third straight time beginning on Friday at Finca Cortesin in southern Spain.

“I know I’m going to feel nervous and I’m going to feel that adrenaline,” she said. “I know I can play great golf with that, so I’m just going to enjoy and embrace every moment.”

Ciganda said it’s a “dream come true” to get to defend the European colors while being able to enjoy familiar meals and conversations.

“It’s a pleasure to be here in my home country,” she said. “I mean, so nice to see so many familiar faces. I just love Spain. Spain is home. It’s just so nice to have Spanish dinners, to listen to everyone talking in Spanish. I love it here. I’m just so happy to be here and hopefully it’s a great week for us.”

Carlota Ciganda, of Spain, hits a tee shot on the...

Carlota Ciganda, of Spain, hits a tee shot on the sixth hole during the final round of the LPGA Portland Classic golf tournament in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023. Credit: AP/Craig Mitchelldyer

Ciganda will be playing in her sixth Solheim Cup, the same as Charley Hull and second only to the eight by Anna Nordqvist among this year's players. Ciganda's first appearance came in 2013, when Europe broke through with its historic first victory on U.S. soil.

Ciganda has played in 19 Solheim Cup matches and has a record of seven wins, eight losses and four draws. She helped Europe win three Solheim Cup titles in 2013, 2019 and 2021.

Ciganda is the only Spaniard to have won every significant amateur and professional tournament played in the country. She won the Spanish Championship at all age levels.

She hoped that the Solheim Cup in Spain could help boost Spanish golf the same way the Ryder Cup did 26 years ago at Valderrama, when a thrilling win by the Europeans led by Spanish great Seve Ballesteros became a turning point to the sport in Spain.

“Obviously with Valderrama … golf grew a lot in Spain,” she said. “So hopefully a lot of girls can watch the Solheim Cup, especially here in Spain, and we can grow the game and we can have some Spanish stars in the near future.”

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