World’s first Mus­lim fe­male golfer brim­ming with con­fi­dence for SA Open

Maha Had­dioui rep­re­sents a new gen­er­a­tion of Arab women, writes Pule Mokhine

CityPress - - Sport -

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

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