The event is being staged at the same time as the Trophée Hassan II at nearby Royal Golf Dar es-Salam on the men’s European Tour and there will be a joint prize giving ceremony on Sunday.
The women’s tournament takes place from 18-20 March in the coastal town of Mohammédia near Casablanca, with 111 players. The leading 60 players and ties after 36 holes will contest the final round on Saturday.
Former winners in the field include Germany’s Elisabeth Esterl, who won the event in 2000, and Italian Sophie Sandolo, the 2006 champion. They are joined by four of last year’s winners in Frenchwoman Jade Schaeffer, Felicity Johnson of England, Austrian Nicole Gergely and Swede Linda Wessberg. Frenchwoman Marie-Laure de Lorenzi won the inaugural Lalla Meryem Cup in 1993, while recent winners include France’s Gwladys Nocera and England’s Laura Davies in 2007 and 2008 respectively.
There are five players preparing to make their professional debut this week. They are December’s Qualifying School medalist Caroline Masson from Germany, Julie Maisongrosse of France, England’s Corisande Lee and the Scottish duo of Carly Booth and Kylie Walker. Meanwhile there are a number of other players from Qualifying School who are playing in their first LET event.
Mallory Blackwelder has made the trip over from the United States with her father and caddie, Worth, who previously worked for Julie Inkster, while Denmark’s Monica V.Christiansen, Spain’s Mariana Macias Capuzzi and Rhian Wyn Thomas of Wales are all playing in their first LET event.
With many of the Australian players remaining at home after the tour’s Australasian swing, the tournament offers a tremendous opportunity for a potential first time champion and we could even see a rookie winner emerge.