The 2012 Ladies European Tour season has not yet begun, but Diana Luna has already received a massive boost after receiving the ‘Athlete of the Year 2011’ award from the mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno.
It is the third time that this prize has been awarded to Rome’s leading sports figures, and citizens who have contributed to society.
Luna won two titles on the Ladies European Tour in 2011: the Deutsche Bank Ladies Swiss Open and UniCredit Ladies German Open presented by Audi, where she became the first ever player to play four bogey-free rounds to win a tournament.
With season’s earnings of 223,405.16 euro, she finished fourth on the Ladies European Tour’s 2011 Henderson Money List, the highest ever ranking by an Italian.
The 29-year-old, who was born in Rome and now has five career titles, said that the award had great significance.
Through translation, Luna said: “This title fills me with pride and highlights the great work of the Italian Golf Federation. The president has made golf more accessible and in addition, thanks to the victories of several Italian professionals on the men’s and women’s tours, the number of Italian people who are passionate and practising the game looks destined to grow.”
Reflecting on 2011, Luna said: “I have come out of 2011 more positive. Now I am preparing myself for my debut in Australia, but I have not yet established my full schedule. I am still planning the season and the tournaments in which to play. I will consider whether or not to try for the United States. The next Solheim Cup and the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are not that far away, therefore it is important to maintain a high standard in order to be in top form for these great events.”
Thanks to her victories in Germany and Switzerland in 2011, Luna was the first Italian player to secure two victories on the LET in the same season, repeating her 2009 performance, when she won back-to-back in Ireland and Norway.
Her amazing feat of playing 72 holes without a bogey at Golfpark Gut Hausern near Munich in Germany was a first on the LET and her overall score was a remarkable 264, 24 under par.
During the season, Luna recorded six additional top-10 finishes, including second place at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France, where she lost to Felicity Johnson in a play-off.
She tied for seventh at the New Zealand Women’s Open, tied for fifth at the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open and Deloitte Dutch Ladies Open and was joint fourth at the Portugal Ladies Open.
Aside from her golf, Luna is a voluntary ambassador for the World Food Programme, the UN organisation that is fighting against world famine.
The secretary general of the Italian Golf Federation, Stefano Manca, was present at the awards ceremony along with the president of the regional committee of Lazio, Carlo Scatena and a number of leading figures from the fields of entertainment and sport.