A confident Maha Haddioui is hoping for bigger things this time around when she tees it up at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters at Emirates Golf Club.
“My goals for the week are pretty high because I have been working a lot on my game, especially on shaping the ball. I know the (Majlis) course well and, by now, I am also quite used to the high pressure that comes with playing in this kind of big tournament.
“I am aiming for a top 10 finish which will help me secure my (Ladies European Tour) card for next year,” said Haddioui, the only Arab player in the field, headed by defending champion and world number six Shanshan Feng of China.
“I missed the cut in my first two appearances here and finished 40th last year primarily because I had a hard time dealing with the high pressure. I have worked on it a lot. I think the experience from the years will stand me in good stead. So, I am feeling very confident going into the tournament,” said Haddioui who is supported by Trophée Hassan II Association (ATH).
“Being the only Arab in the field, I know there are a lot of eyes that are set on me. Everyone is cheering me up and telling good things like ‘Maha, let’s do it.’ I am trying to use this support as a fuel rather than a pressuring thing,” said Haddioui, who is grouped with Kelsey Macdonald of Scotland and Carin Koch of Sweden for the opening two rounds.
Elaborating on her positive mindset, she said: “I have set up a mind routine with my coach (Patrice Leglise) that involves a lot of thinking of a happy place, a happy smell and a happy sound. It’s like a trigger before I play every golf shot.
“It has worked for me in practice rounds and, hopefully, it will work during the competition as well. Let’s see,” added Haddioui who believes things are changing for better when it comes to women’s golf in the region.
“A lot of young girls have taken to the sport as I get a lot of messages on Facebook or event on WhatsApp. That’s something I am really happy about because I get to see what’s going on, even outside of Morocco.
“It’s just a matter of time of before we have even more girls playing from the Arab world.”