Noemi Jiménez Martin grew up playing at the same golf course as Azahara Muñoz, who is six years her senior. This week she is looking forward to competing against her at Club de Golf Guadalmina, which is hosting the Andalucia Costa del Sol Open de España Femenino for the first time.
“I feel really excited because I’ve never played in a Ladies European Tour event here at my home course. I feel really happy, because I’m going to have a lot of support and a lot of friends are coming,” said the 23-year-old second year LET player, who lives 10 minutes from the course in Nueva Andalucia.
“I know the course really well and sometimes that can also be a disadvantage, because you know every place, where to go and where not to go. I want to be calm, because being at home gives you a little extra pressure, because you want to do well. There are a lot of people supporting you and watching and I want to be in the present and be as calm as I can and do my best. I have been a member here since I was six and I’m 23 now. That’s more than half of my life!”
Jiménez Martin dazzled during her amateur career with a fierce and passionate game and she reached third place in the World Amateur Ranking. She was Spanish Champion on several occasions, semifinalist in the British Ladies Amateur, won a gold medal in the European Team Championship representing Spain and Bronze in the European Individual. She also reached a meritorious fifth place in the Annika Invitational and finished the 12th in the Amateur World Championship.
Muñoz was always a role model for Jimenez Martin and she followed her all the way to Arizona State University, where she studied Tourism at the same time as playing on the golf team.
Since turning professional two years ago, in September 2015, Jimenez Martin has won on the Gecko and Santander Tours in Spain, but is yet to realise her potential on the LET. She recorded two top 10 finishes in her rookie season in 2016, but so far in 2017, her best result is a tie for 36th, in the Ladies European Thailand Championship. She is hoping to do well at Club de Golf Guadalmina and said: “It’s a challenging course, because you have to hit it straight. The greens are not as hard as they normally are, but it’s looking really nice. I think some of the holes are from the white tees. It’s a par-5 that you normally hit the green in two shots but hitting from the whites makes it more difficult. In general, I think hitting it straight from the tee box gives you a lot of opportunities. The greens are big and you need to be in a good place if the pin is hidden. A good strategy here is very important, and good tee shots. I’m happy to be here and hopefully it will be a week to remember.”