Ballesteros was more than golf legend to Ciganda

Carlota Ciganda hits a shot at No. 1. Ciganda posted a 73 for the first round.
Carlota Ciganda hits a shot at No. 1. Ciganda posted a 73 for the first round. ( Tracy Wilcox )

Monday, May 9, 2011

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Before Arizona State teed off for the final round of the NCAA East Regional on May 7, coaches Melissa Luellen and Missy Farr Kaye had to break the news of Seve Ballesteros’ death to junior Carlota Ciganda.

Ciganda, of Pamplona, Spain, knew Ballesteros not just as a golfing legend and short-game magician, but as the father of childhood friend Javier Ballesteros, 20. Ciganda, 20, played junior golf with the young Ballesteros growing up, and said her thoughts were with the entire family as she teed it up for the final round at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla.

“He has been an unbelievable player, great person, great example,” Ciganda said. “I think it’s really sad for golf not only in Europe and Spain but in the world.”

Though Ciganda had never played golf with Seve, she can remember practicing near him once, and Seve singing the praises of her swing.

“He told me just that I have a great game, just to enjoy, have fun. He’s great,” she said.