Chiara Noja, a high school senior, won the Ladies European Tour at Aramco Team Series Jeddah. She defeated her childhood idol Charley Hull in a playoff.
Noja, 16 years old, shot a final round 65 at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, to reach 13 under. Hull birdied four holes of her last six holes. Noja, six-foot tall and a strong player, won the title by birding back-to-back holes during the playoff.
Noja had joked earlier in the week that she needed to win to stop needing more school because she brought the wrong books to Jeddah.
Noja said that she doesn’t believe the victory has fully sunk in yet. “I believe the happiness will come later in this evening. Charley was shown a photo of me as a 10-year old by my dad before we left. It’s like a complete circle. It’s a blessing.
“I have worked hard over many years to be able not to back out of shots, to commit to all that I do, and not be afraid of failing.”
Five events are part of the LET’s Aramco Team Series. These events, which are Saudi-sponsored, remain controversial due to the many human rights violations Saudi Arabia has been accused with, particularly towards women.
This year’s Aramco winners include Manon de Roey and Bronte Law, Nelly Korda, Lexi Thompson, and Nelly Korda.
Noja was 14 years old when she first tried the LET. She went spiraling after a second round 86. However, she later admitted to Instagram that she couldn’t picture herself returning on the course for the final round.
Noja wrote, “I was incapable of dealing with the pressure” and “the fact that millions were watching on TV. Therefore, I had a complete meltdown.”
She has come a long distance since then. A victory, five top-three finishes on LET Access Series this year, and finishing second on Order of Merit have earned her LET card for 2023.
She won that tour a couple of weeks later. Noja stated that she doesn’t know what the next step is.
She said, “I can’t even comprehend it.” “I am going to relax tonight. Have a burger, and then go to bed. I will let you know how it feels.