Golf News


Chiara Noja

Chiara Noja fired an excellent course record of 62 (-10) to lead by two shots at the end of the first day of the Investec South African Women’s Open.

The teenager got off to a hot start at Steenberg Golf Club with four birdies in her opening five holes before dropping her only shot of the day on the sixth.

Noja soon found her rhythm once again with an eagle on the eighth and rolled in a further five birdies to secure her spot on 10-under-par at the top of the leaderboard.

“I think it was pretty consistent golf in general,” said the LET winner. “I didn’t feel like I was swinging it incredibly well all day.

“I put myself in a good position for birdies, my putting was definitely good and to hole some of those putts was really good.

“My wedges were on point and I think that’s what we’ll try to do going into the next few days. Depending on the wind, we’ll see exactly how much we will need to go under par.”

The 16-year-old secured her maiden victory on the LET back in November clinching the Aramco Team Series – Jeddah Individual title.

And being still so young in her professional career, Noja worked hard on adding new shots to her bag over the off-season.

She explained: “Over the winter I’ve done a lot of wedge work and a lot of the shots that I’ve learned to hit over this week and the start of the season I didn’t have in the bag last year.

“There’s growth in that sense and also trusting myself a little better. I learned that in Jeddah last year and I’m trying to commit to everything and not be afraid to fail.”

South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai sits in second place on eight-under-par having produced a round of 64 on the first day of competition.

The 2022 AIG Women’s Open champion also got off to a blistering start from the 10th hole when she rolled in seven birdies in her opening nine holes to make the turn in 29.

Buhai made her only error of the day on the third hole but soon bounced back with back-to-back birdies on five and six for a round of eight-under.

“We teed off on the back nine, which was my front nine, and conditions were very soft and I got off to a great start,” said the four-time LET winner.

“I rolled in three birdies in-a-row and even lipped out on the fourth hole, holed a bomb on my fifth hole and it was my best nine holes ever in tournament golf. A 29, I have never done that before. It’s pretty cool.

“I hadn’t seen the front nine. I played it blind. I don’t think I committed as well on…


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