Morocco’s Olympic golfer Maha Haddioui is happy to be back on home turf this week as she prepares to make her 10th appearance in the Lalla Meryem Cup.
The 30-year-old, who is based in Agadir, is once again amongst the headline names due to take on the Blue Course at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam who include order of merit leader Marianne Skarpnord, Meghan MacLaren, Dame Laura Davies and defending champion Jenny Haglund.
The Lalla Meryem Cup holds fond memories for Maha, with her tie for 21st in the 2016 edition being her best result in the tournament, ahead of her career best tie for third in the Investec SA Women’s Open last year.
She said: “The Lalla Meryem Cup is a very special tournament for me, because it’s my home event, it’s organised by the Hassan II Golf Trophy Association (ATH), who have supported me for many years, so it feels like I’m part of it and I see all the work that goes in to make the tournament so great.”
Haddioui will be one of three Moroccan players in the field of 126 competitors, along with amateurs Lina Belmati and Intissar Rich and she added: “All eyes are on the Moroccan players. You try to do well and apart from it being my home event, it’s one of the best, if not the best, event of the year. The set-up is amazing and having the men there as well, sharing the players’ lounge, makes it very special indeed.”
The female players will share a players’ lounge and practise facilities with their counterparts from the men’s European Tour who will contest the 46th edition of the Hassan II Trophy on Red Course concurrently.
Haddioui is also pleased that her coach, the former Kraft Nabisco Championship winner and French Solheim Cup player, Patricia Meunier Lebouc, will join her for the week, along with her husband, her sister, parents and first-time caddie, Marco Delia.
Haddioui started her ninth season on Tour by making two cuts from six appearances, in the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open and Investec South African Women’s Open but is feeling positive ahead of her favourite event. She said: “My mindset for the event is really focused on what I can control and give my best on the course. To have as little doubt as possible; this is a mindset that I’m trying to have in every event: stay in the present, play shot by shot and I tend to get a little ahead of myself, so I need to calm my mind a bit. This mindset is the only thing I can control. My main objective is to really give it my best try.
“One of my main goals for the next two seasons is to get enough points to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. I think it’s going to be amazing playing in Tokyo. I’ve never been and also, just to get another Olympic experience would be absolutely amazing, after Rio. I feel like I’m more mature now and would be able to deal with it a lot better, so I just can’t wait!”