Fatima Fernandez Cano is no stranger to Mesa, Arizona or Longbow Golf Club. The two-time Epson Tour champion secured one of those victories in 2022 at the Carlisle Arizona Women's Golf Classic. The third annual event sponsored by the Carlisle Companies returns to Longbow Golf Club in 2023, along with Cano, to defend her title. Although the 27-year-old did not learn to play golf in the desert, Cano has grown to love and trust her game in Arizona.
"This is a place that I've always been comfortable in. This golf course, in general, I've always had good finishes here," said Cano. "In a way, I'm just kind of telling myself that my game is good enough. And I'm good enough to do it. So that gives me a little bit of peace of mind. I have no expectations, I'm just kind of trying to trust my game, and it becomes a little easier to trust my game when I like the golf course for sure."
Teeing it up in Mesa, Arizona, isn't the only aspect of the tournament that makes Cano comfortable. The Spaniard says she feels lucky to be a part of a growing game, with sponsors like Carlisle Companies pushing it forward. Increasing the purse size to $335,000 in 2023, Carlisle Companies provides better opportunities for athletes like Cano on the Epson Tour to pursue their dreams of playing at the highest level on the LPGA Tour.
"I think it's great to work with companies that support women and support the game of golf. And, of course, they do both at the same time, supporting women's golf. It just shows their values. It just shows that they're truly supporting in a way, the future," said Cano. "Carlisle Companies, I think, was already one of the highest purses last year, so that was awesome. And for them to just come back again and say no, we're going to keep kind of supporting the game, supporting you guys, that's huge. It's an honor for me to be a defending champ at a tournament backed by a company like that."
Fernandez Cano will tee it up at 1:08 p.m. PT on Thursday.