World’s first Muslim female golfer brimming with confidence for SA Open
Maha Haddioui represents a new generation of Arab women, writes Pule Mokhine
Moroccan professional golfer Maha Haddioui, the world’s first Muslim female player, will compete for the second year in the SA Women’s Open, the tournament sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour (LET).
The event features 80 international players from 25 countries. It tees off on October 16 at the San Lameer Country Club in Southbroom on the Hibiscus Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.
The first Arab woman to earn full playing privileges on the LET, 26-year-old Haddioui made her SA Open debut in April last year at the Southbroom Golf Club on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal. The event is co-sanctioned by the Women’s Professional Golf Association.
The contest was, unfortunately, reduced to only one round because of bad weather. Play was made impossible by the heavy rain that swept the course.
Spain’s Marianne Skarpnord won with a score of 69. Haddioui tied for 56th after carding 75.
Tournament promoter Lesley Copeman believes Haddioui will prove her mettle if the event is not interrupted this time.
“The fact that she is the only Arab female playing in Europe suggests she is good.
“She has done fairly well in a number of tournaments she has taken part in in Europe so far,” said Copeman.
The promoter said Haddioui would be here to win and the weather would not be a hindrance. Haddioui, who lives in Agadir in Morocco, turned professional in 2010.
Last year she played in 16 tournaments and posted her best result at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France, where she finished tied for 20th place.
She ended the season ranked 113th and needed to play in the European Tour School Final Qualifying to retain her card.
Haddioui has played few games at home and in France this year.
“Being the only Arab player on tour is great. My goal is to be the top player in the world and play in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil,” she said in a recent interview.
There is no doubt that with the social changes in the Arab world in the past few years, Haddioui represents a new generation of Arab women.
South African players on the LET who will feature at the Open are Ashleigh Simon, Stacy-Lee Bregman, Kim Williams and Nicole Garcia.
They are all gearing up to play in the Helsingborg Open at Vasatorp Golf Club in Helsingborg in Sweden from September 4 to 7.
The purse prize for the showdown is €250 000 (R3.5 million).
Being the only Arab player on tour is great. My goal is to be the top player in the world and play in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil
BREAKING BOUNDARIES Maha Haddioui in action last year during the Pro-Am as a preview for the Dubai Ladies Masters