A strong international field including seven of last year’s Ladies European Tour champions will battle it out when the 22nd staging of the Lalla Meryem Cup tees off at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat, next month.
Golfers from no fewer than 30 countries will line up in the Moroccan capital as the tournament returns to the venue for the first time since 2008, two years before it joined the Ladies European Tour schedule and was played at Royal Golf Anfa Mohammedia in 2010.
Played at Golf du Soleil in 2011, the event remained in Agadir when it was played at Golf de l’Ocean from 2012 until 2015. Fittingly, in the year that golf returns to the Olympic Games, both the Lalla Meryem Cup and Trophée Hassan II on the men’s PGA European Tour – won last year by Gwladys Nocera and Richie Ramsay in Agadir – will be played in the same week at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam on the Blue and Red courses respectively.
Players from all over the world will be keen to put themselves in the frame for an appearance in Rio when the event is played on May 5-8, with the cut-off for qualification just two months later, on July 11.
French Olympic hopeful Gwladys Nocera, with 14 wins on the Ladies European Tour, is to defend the title she won last year by two strokes over Melissa Reid, Felicity Johnson and Nicole Garcia. Nocera has a strong record in Morocco, having won the title at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in 2007 and finished second to Charley Hull in 2014 and she will have her eyes on a third Lalla Meryem Cup trophy.
Current Ladies European Tour Order of Merit leader, Beth Allen from the United States, who claimed her maiden title at last year’s ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters, is keen to gain a second LET crown, along with the 2015 Rookie of the Year Emily Kristine Pedersen, who won the Hero Indian Women’s Open, 2015 Player of the Year Nicole Broch Larsen, who triumphed at the Helsingborg Open in Sweden and Hannah Burke, the winner of the Tipsport Golf Masters in Pilsen.
Melissa Reid, who earned her fifth LET trophy last year in Turkey and Rebecca Artis, who claimed her second at the 2015 Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open, are the other recent champions in the tournament, while there will also be a large contingent of LET rookies led by the Lalla Aicha Tour School winner Aditi Ashok, who came out on top in Marrakech last December.
With the venue being staged in the Moroccan capital, large galleries are expected to attend the ground breaking event as they will be able to watch the best talent from both the men’s and Ladies European Tours, including home grown player Maha Haddioui, from Agadir.
Named after Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Meryem, the Lalla Meryem Cup is honoured to have the Royal Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, together with the support of His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid in his role as President of the Association Trophée Hassan II.