Ladies European Tour
Nov 3rd, 2020
Iturrioz returns to defend in the moonlight
Spaniard part of strong field for OMEGA Dubai Moonlight Classic
Photography: Tristan Jones
Contested at the world-renowned Faldo Course at The Emirates Golf Club, the tournament is the first of four consecutive events on the LET schedule and the world’s first day-night Tour event with the 56-player-field splitting into a day/night shotgun start draw which sees half of the field compete under the floodlights each day.
Back to defend the trophy she narrowly won by a stroke last season from Olivia Cowan and Esther Henseleit is three-time LET winner Nuria Iturrioz, who gets her title defence underway from the ‘unlucky for some’ 13th hole at 10.am.
The 24-year-old, who is known for her smile and playful demeanour, had a month to remember last year winning the Lalla Meryem Cup the week prior to her victory in Dubai and the Zimmer Biomat Championship on the Symetra Tour two weeks after.
This year she faces a fierce challenge from more than 20 LET winners including Race to Costa del Sol leader Emily Kristine Pedersen, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies but also a number of international stars and major winners including Catriona Matthew, Georgia Hall and the world’s youngest world No. 1, Lydia Ko.
“It’s not going to be an easy title defence, but I like to think that every player here wants to win and that is no different to normal. This year with a stronger field, for sure it will be another great experience but I feel confident about my game and the key will be on the greens this week, let’s see if my caddy can read the breaks as well as normal in the dark.”
Looking back to 2019, Iturrioz continued, “I love playing in Dubai, the organization is great and playing in the dark was a different experience last year but very fun. I have a lot of amazing memories here and I learnt a lot from the last day which I will remember when I am out on the course.”
In such a unique format, it is not very often that a player has experience playing under the floodlights but Iturrioz let us into a little secret ahead of her first round.
“At my home golf course in Spain they put lights on the practice area, so I’ve been practising there quite a bit. I mentioned the importance of putting but I also think you need to hit the driver straight so that you won’t be worried about losing the ball in the dark.”
Luckily for Iturrioz, the floodlights at Emirates Golf Club are first-rate and playing in the dark should not lead to any lost golf balls…