Ladies European Tour
Teenager beats her idol to win pro event and says she'll celebrate with 'burger and sleep'
Chiara Noja, 16, holds the trophy after winning the Aramco Series Jedddah event for her first LET victory.
There is yet another teenager in professional golf who's already showing she has no fear when it comes to beating the best.
On Saturday, 16-year-old Chiara Noja, who recently secured her Ladies European Tour card for 2023, captured her first LET title in the Aramco Team Series Jeddah event in Saudi Arabia by overcoming her childhood idol and World No. 17. Charley Hull in a playoff. Noja shot 65 in regulation at the Royal Greens Golf Country Ciub, while Hull charged with four birdies in her last six holes to shoot 68 as both finished at 13 under.
Noja made two birdies in the playoff for the $75,000 win.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in quite yet. I think the happiness will come later this evening,” Noja said. “Before we went out, my dad showed Charley a picture of me with her as a 10-year-old. It’s like a full circle; it’s a blessing.
“I’ve worked hard over a lot of years now to be able to not back out of shots and commit to everything that I do and not be afraid to fail.”
Noja attends high school in Dubai and got a sponsor’s exemption into the tournament She had exams to study for, but realized once she got to Jeddah that she’d brought the wrong books. She joked earlier in the week, “The goal is to win this week so I don’t need school anymore.”
She is clearly an old soul, but still has youthful qualities, such as admitting, “I have no clue what the plan is next. I can’t even begin to fathom it, I’m just going to try and relax tonight. Maybe have a burger and sleep, probably the best night sleep I’m ever going to get and see how I feel.”
According to her own website, Noja was born in Germany, introduced to golf at the age of 3, and then the family moved to England. She was a scratch player by 12, and at 13 made her professional debut as an amateur while being No. 1 in the European rankings for her age group. She made her LET debut in November 2020 at the Dubai Moonlight Classic. A year later at the same event, sporting a plus-7 handicap, Noja made her first start as a pro.
Once she turned 16 in March of this year, Noja could compete on the feeder tour for the LET, the LETAS, and three months later Noja earned her first win on that circuit, prevailing by a remarkable nine strokes in the Amundi Czech Ladies Challenge. She ended the season second on the Order of Merit to earn her LET card for next year.
Safe to say, we’re going to be hearing her name for years to come.