Dubai’s Chiara Noja off to a fast start in Saudi

Dubai’s Chiara Noja enjoyed a solid start to the Aramco Saudi Ladies International as the teen sensation posted a one under par 71 to finish the day in a share of sixth.

Noja, who turned professional on the eve of last year’s Dubai Moonlight Classic, didn’t get off to the greatest of starts with a three over par front nine, but bounced back superbly after the turn with an eagle and two birdies moving the youngster into the red and just two strokes behind leaders Georgia Hall and Sophie Witt at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club.

” I was a little shaky at the beginning, a little unsure of myself and a little unsure of the wind,” said Noja, who made her first professional cut at this event last year.

“It was very windy, I think it was 47km an hour this morning. Committing to some of those shots was a little difficult. I went three over from 10 to 18, but on the front nine, my back nine, I went four under. It was definitely a grind. My dad and I, we just told each-other ‘you know what, hit your shot, commit to it, we don’t care what we shoot’.

“We knew it was going to be tough out here today. One under is always a nice way to start the tournament.”

The strong first round outing came just a day after Noja celebrated her 16th birthday. So, how did she mark the occassion while preparing for one of the biggest tournaments on the Ladies European Tour schedule?

“Actually, I had about 20 iced teas,” she chuckled. “We did go through a little process of trying to find a birthday cake. So we ordered room service, and they didn’t have any cake but they did have French toast. So I had French toast. I was like do you have a candle? Nope, safety hazard. No candle for me. When I get back to Dubai, I’ll celebrate with my family.

“The French toast was delicious, highly recommended!”

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