(Photo courtesy Golf Digest Middle East)
We’re at a strange place on the golf calendar – on the PGA tour, we’re near the end of the soft part of the fall schedule, and the LPGA is on the sidelines until November 19. So you might not have noticed an interesting little tournament on the Ladies European Tour this week – it’s the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic. What’s cool about it? The course is lit by floodlights to allow nighttime play, and the course is set against the skyline of Dubai, which is pretty cool!
The last time I played night golf was in high school and consisted of sneaking onto the course with some friends and trying to guess where you were hitting it. The Faldo Course at Emirates Golf Club in Dubai takes the thrill of getting caught away, and playing under the lights is a great idea for a tournament. It’s a shotgun format, only 56 players, 54 holes, and the first two days have an afternoon and evening session (tee times flip-flop for the second round so players get one round in daytime, one at night), and the final round is all in the evening.
Those of you who are avid followers of Paige Spirinac may remember that this is the tournament she controversially twice received a sponsor’s exemption to play and shot +12 one year and +13 the next (hey, no shame in trying!).
There are a number of interesting stories to follow this year:
- Chiara Noja: only 14 years old, but is 6 feet tall and plays to a +5 handicap. Made it to the final 16 in this year’s Women’s British Amateur. Yeah, she might be good someday. She just recorded a good YouTube video with Peter Finch.
- Diksha Dakar: 19 years old, from India, won the South African Women’s Open last year. And she happens to be deaf, which she says isn’t a big deal, but I think it’s pretty impressive.
- Julia Engstrom: 19 years old, turned professional at 16! Already won twice this year on the Ladies European Tour and is first in 2021 Solheim Cup points.
- Laura Davies: 57 years old, shot 72 in the first round, good for T18. Who knows?
You can check out rounds 2 and 3 on Thursday and Friday this week on Golf Channel at 10 am Eastern, 7 am Pacific.