Carlota Ciganda isn't sleeping on the lead in the battle for the Aon Risk Reward Challenge's $1 million prize, but she's resting with it.
Ciganda leads the season-long competition to see who sports the best scoring average on the week-to-week's designated risk-reward holes, but she won't be defending her position in the competition's final two events, this week's Taiwan Swinging Skirts and next week's Toto Japan Classic. Ciganda has reached the required number of holes played to qualify for the big prize and has withdrawn from these last two qualifying events.
So it's up to Ariya Jutanugarn, In Kyun-Kim and the other closes pursuers to see if they can overtake her.
"It has been a long year, and I am mentally exhausted," Ciganda told LPGA media. "I have played a lot during the summer, including the Solheim Cup. I won in Spain a couple of weeks ago, and I have just run out of gas. I am choosing to listen to my body at the moment."
Ciganda sports a -0.841 scoring average in relation to par on the risk-reward holes this year. Jutanugarn is second at -0.8000 and Kim is third at -0.750. Both Jutanugarn and Kim are in the field this week.
"I am leading the Aon Risk Reward Challenge, but deciding not to play I don't give myself a chance to improve my position," Ciganda said. "I just did not want to play these two weeks against the best players in the world when I am not mentally fit. Also, we have the most important tournament of the year coming up [CME Group Tour Championship], and I want to be ready for that week because my goal is to win."
Ciganda has a chance to take home a wheelbarrow full of money in the last month of the season. She could win the $1 million Aon Risk Reward Challenge before going to the CME Group Tour Championship, where a $1.5 million winner's check, the largest in women's golf, is up for grabs.
The designated risk-reward hole at Miramar Golf Country Club in New Tapei City this week is the 342-yard, par 4 8th hole. There are multiple tee boxes, with the LPGA planning to use the forward tees (255 yards) during at least two rounds.
The Aon Risk Reward scoring system has been identical on both the LPGA and PGA Tour this year, with players taking their best two scores from each Aon Risk Reward Challenge hole. Players must play a minimum of 40 rounds throughout the season.