Local player Maha Haddioui says that dealing with the expectations of her home gallery as Morocco’s leading player will be the main challenge at the Lalla Meryem Cup this week.

The 26-year-old from Agadir, who turned professional in 2010, recorded a tournament best finish of 25th when the event was played at Golf du Soleil in 2011 and she always takes centre stage when playing in her home tournament.

“It’s always nice to be competing in Morocco but it’s a lot of pressure too. There are high expectations,” she said.

“I’m just going to go shot by shot and not put too much pressure. I’m hoping for a top 10 finish this week. My game feels pretty solid.”

Fayçal Serghini, the No.1 male Moroccan professional in 2014 who is playing in the Trophée Hassan II at nearby Golf du Palais Royal, heaped praise on his compatriot when he said: “I’ve known Maha for a little while and I know what she’s capable of and I followed her during Q School when she played some impressive golf.

“Obviously the last five years ATH has done a tremendous job for the youngsters, including Maha and Ahmed Marjane, who just won a MENA Tour event and is playing this week on the men’s European Tour. I think golf is really growing and I’m pretty sure we’ll have some more rising stars win soon.”

Maha Haddioui of Morocco during a practice round