My 2022 season was a success for me, says Noja

Gulf News caught up with Dubai-based Chiara Noja on getting her Ladies’ European Tour Card for 2023. She currently lies in second on both the 2022 LETAS Order of Merit and the LETAS Rookie of the Year Rankings with two LETAS tournaments remaining, on 2,217.98 points, behind leader of both rankings Sara Kouskova (Czech Republic) on 2,317.18 points. 16-year-old Noja is on her way to New York for the LET’s ARAMCO Team Series in New York.

Gulf News: Congratulations on your 2022 season on the Ladies European Tour Access Series (LETAS) and getting your 2023 Ladies’ European Tour (LET) card. Summarize your golfing season in your own words?

Chiara: My 2022 season was a success for me. To get into the top six on the LETAS and gain by LET card for 2023 was always my main target. I ticked off all my goals.

I was always aware that I wasn’t going to play all the LETAS events at the end of the season, due to my school studies, so Number One was never really on the cards.

This season I won over $32,000 and had a stroke average of 71.45, a low round of 65 and a Driving Distance Average of 292.58 yards.

Gulf News: Tell us about the highs and lows of the season?

Chiara: The overall high was getting my card. Other highs included my first win on the LETAS in the Amundi Czech Ladies Challenge in June as well as my additional ten top 10 finishes.

The tough times that no one really sees is that it has been a long and tiring season.

There has been a lot of travel, much of it in a car, with my Caddie – Dad in the 14 tournaments that I played on the LETAS between the last day of March and mid-September.

Perhaps the most satisfying element of this season on reflection, is even when I had my ‘C’ game, I was still able to be competitive and near the top of the leaderboard most weeks.

Gulf News: Tell us about playing and winning the recent UAE PGA tournament on the Fire course at Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai?

Chiara: I had not practiced or played for 10 days and I decided to compete with the local PGA boys in the UAE PGA event at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

In the Pro-Am event I shot a 5 under par 67 from a Green Tee course to win by two shots from Purna Sharma (The Els Club), measuring, it seemed around 7,000 yards, with the boys playing even further back. It seems the guys wanted to test me with the ladies’ course set-up. It was fun, especially playing alongside my amateur partners. Thanks for letting me play guys!

Gulf News: How do you like living in Dubai?

Chiara: I have lived here in Dubai with my parents for over two years and have settled in nicely. Dubai provides me with everything I require in my life: excellent golf courses and related practical facilities, the best of weather, a great school and a tremendous support network. I love living here, I am comfortable here and feel it is my real home, and plan to live here in Dubai for the foreseeable future.

Gulf News: Now you have your 2023 playing privileges on the Ladies’ European Tour, what are your plans and goals for next season?

Chiara: Next year I will be balancing my GCSE school studies with my LET golf schedule.

I will have to be more flexible with my schedule, mindful of revision and exam periods. As well as more rest periods than this season on the LETAS.

It is super exciting to go to the next level in ladies’ golf.

I have no expectations for next year, I will just play my best, try my hardest and take what I get!

We will perhaps have more targeted goals when the LET season is around the corner.

Gulf News: What are your immediate plans?

Chiara: Everyone should know that I have completed my LETAS events for this year, but I still have two LET events organized by my sponsors Golf Saudi, where the fields are incredible: the ARAMCO Team Series – New York (13th – 15th October, 2022 ) and the ARAMCO Team Series – Jeddah (10th – 12th November, 2022), both boasting prize funds of $1 million.

My immediate priority is school and I will be studying between my golf activities this week as is the norm these days.

Gulf News: Thank you for your time, congratulations again on your 2022 season, safe travels and see you back in Dubai soon.