Spanish Open to decide the European No. 1

The Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España, from Thursday to Sunday at the Villa Padierna golf course in Marbella (Málaga), is the last tournament of the season and will decide who is the new number 1 on the women’s European circuit, an honor that Linn will play Grant and Maja Stark, 23 and 22 years old, respectively.

Both will share the star game of the first day (12:05 p.m.) with Carlota Ciganda from Navarra. Ciganda defends the title and leads, together with Azahara Muñoz and Ana Peláez, the group of 16 Spanish players present at the home Open.

The two young Swedish golfers have impressed during 2022 in which they have won four and three titles, respectively, to occupy first and second place in the Race to the Costa del Sol: Grant has 3,394 points, only 69 more than his compatriot ( 3,325).

“I am very satisfied with the season I have had, I have had good results and that has made me enjoy playing a lot. Leading the Race to Costa del Sol in this tournament is a real gift”, said Grant.

“This tournament is a very interesting challenge, the best players on the circuit will be present and it is a good way to end the year. I come with the idea of ​​winning the tournament and also the order of merit. The season has been long, but I will get all the strength I have left to finish the year as well as possible,” said Stark.

At this point in the year, and even more playing in Andalusia, very close to Finca Cortesín, the course that will host the 2023 Solheim Cup, it is inevitable to think about this biennial tournament that pits the best in Europe and the United States against each other, but the Nordic golfers They prefer to go slow.

“The first thing is to finish this season in the best possible way, but yes, it is clear that your head is already starting to think about next year and, of course, about the Solheim Cup”, confessed Grant. “It is impossible to come to play the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open in Spain and not think about the Solheim Cup”, added Stark.

“The season has been good, but somewhat inconsistent on the LPGA Tour. You can’t be 100% every week. I love playing in my country. I don’t know if it’s because of the support I receive or because of the adrenaline, but I’m always I want to think that I am 100% ready for this tournament, and then I want to rest and recharge my batteries for next year”, said Ciganda.

Nothing to do, therefore, with the season that Azahara Muñoz has had. For the player from Malaga, playing on her land and receiving the love of her family and friends motivates her enormously, but we must not forget that she was away from the golf courses since February, when she became a mother, and did not return to competition until September .

“I really wanted to play this tournament, because in addition to being at home, I feel like I still have a few laps to play and this championship is perfect. It will be four days that will help me enormously in my preparation”, Azahara Muñoz explained, avoiding making the excuse of having traveled with her son Lucas, since “it is a matter of organizing. It is true that there are nights that are harder than others, but in general I think I am recovering well”.

Ana Peláez, for her part, still hardly believes that she is sitting “with these magnificent players” after a year “of learning, and not only with regard to golf but everything that surrounds her”, although she immediately gets the competitive streak when he bluntly assures that he arrives at the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open in Spain thinking big, since “my goal is always to win”. The woman from Malaga got the LET card after winning the Community of Madrid Ladies Open at the beginning of the season.

Ana Peláez, ranked fifth in the Race To Costa del Sol, also took stock of her first year as a professional and recognized that “I put a lot of pressure on myself, but today things are different. I like to feel that pressure and I prefer it to nobody noticing me”.

Perhaps that is why Ana Peláez has among her plans to get the LPGA card to “fight with the best”, while her voice does not tremble when she admits that the Solheim Cup is marked in red on her calendar because “I want to play, it is one of my goals, even more at stake in Andalusia”.