Maha Haddioui, the first Arab woman to earn full playing privileges on the Ladies European Tour, fancies her chances of posting a strong finish when she competes in the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters being held under the patronage of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at Emirates Golf Club from December 1 to 7, 2013.
“I know what it takes to compete at the highest level of golf. I am upbeat and focused," she said ahead of the euro 500,000 (Dh2.5 million) event which will features world number three Stacy Lewis, defending champion Shanshan Feng, and the great Laura Davies among other seasoned pros from both sides of the Atlantic
Maha, who is supported by Trophée Hassan II Association (ATH) and Alliances Group, believes that her four years spent at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, helped her to hone her skills and talents. Before turning professional early in 2011, she was a four-time All American scholar and NCGA First-team All American, graduating with a Masters in Accounting and International Business last year.
“I played number one for my team which was a big responsibility and taught me a lot of things. Coming back home after four years in America and playing golf every day was just perfect,” said the 24-year-old from Agadir, who posted a tied 20th at the Ladies French Open – her best finish of the season in 12 starts
“Not a lot of women in the Arab world are able to travel the world on their own and play golf and follow their passion. I’m really fortunate in that way. Even though my parents are not golfers, they’ve always supported me. That’s a big plus,” said Maha who finished 20th during the Second Stage to earn her European Tour Card in December 2012.
“I guess it’s pretty unusual but I’m really happy I turned pro, that I’m playing golf now and everybody has been very helpful as well,” said Maha who took to golf in 2001 at the age of 13 at Golf du Soleil Agadir and began to represent Morocco at international events all over Europe from 2003
Wishing her best of luck, Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi, said: "Encouraging and promoting emerging Arab talent has always been a priority for us and we believe the experienced gained from compete against a deeply-talented field at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters will help further add to her confidence.
"Morocco is leading the way when it comes to professional golf in the Arab world, and it's definitely important for people from other countries to see how their golfers are shaping up. Morocco has invested heavily in sporting infrastructure and it’s paying off now," he added.
‘golf in DUBAi' is backed by Omega as the title sponsor and DUBAL as the sponsor. The co-sponsors are: CNN, Drydocks World & Maritime World, Emirates NBD, Gulf News, Mercedes-Benz and wasl while Dubai Duty Free, Carpetland and Motivate are the Patrons in golf in DUBAi's drive to showcase the emirate's vibrant golfing scene to a worldwide audience.