Chiara Noja – From biology exams to playing with the stars of the game

By Chiara Noja for Worldwide Golf

It has been an unusual preparation for this week’s tournament on the Ladies’ European Tour in Riyadh.

Yesterday (Wednesday), I was taking a Biology exam at school in Dubai and I flew over to Riyadh last night.

I eventually got to bed around 8 pm, and played the course today in the morning Pro-Am.

I popped over to Riyadh to see the golf course a couple of weeks ago, as I wanted to plan this ‘Riyadh Project’ ahead of time – rather than arrive cold.

My shoulder is still a little bit stiff, it is not ideal but it is all about pushing through and I was determined to defend my title.

The course is really nice – but very different to Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City, Jeddah – where I won the individual title in the ARAMCO Team Series – Jeddah last year, beating Charley Hull in the play-off.

I have been playing golf a lot recently, and will practice putt a little this afternoon and then just catch-up on my sleep and be tournament ready for tomorrow’s tee time at 8.46 am off tee 1.

I am a Team Captain this week and will play with Kirsten Rudgeley (Aus), Ursula Wikstrom (Fin) and our amateur HRH Khalid Al Faisal. The format is the best two scores on each hole from the team of four over 36-holes plus the Individual Event over 54-holes.

It is going to be a fun and exciting week and let’s see how the wind plays out. It is always a factor in this part of the world – as I know more than most.

I was asked at the Press Conference this afternoon in a packed Media Centre – when I turned pro at 15 years-old, two years ago in October 2021, could I have dreamt of being the defending champion in a tournament of this significance and competing with my fellow panelists: ROLEX Women’s World Rankings No. One, Lilia Vu (US), No. 4, Minjee Lee (Aus) and No. 33, Carlota Ciganda (Spain). The answer is a definite a YES, I was always dreaming of it – but to actually come true is a bit special.

Speak to you after tomorrow’s first round. Wish me luck!

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