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Maria Balikoeva feels at home at National Golf Club

Maria with her parents and daughter, also called Maria, who was born in September 2012.

Maria Balikoeva has a special connection with National Golf Club, which is hosting the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open for the sixth time this week.

The 28-year-old Russian grew up playing at the venue and says: “I have practised here since I was very little, like since I was 12. I used to come here every winter to practice and they always treated me nicely so it was like my second home. I know the golf course pretty well and I feel comfortable here.”

Maria now bases herself in Dubai over the winter and has been working hard on her game and fitness.

“I’ve been working out like crazy. With my fitness coach in Dubai I’ve been working out twice a day and trying to put some weight on and get more fit. I did eventually but it was really hard for me,” she continued. “My game has improved a lot. I’m hitting it a lot better and my short game is a lot better.”

Maria recorded her career best finish of tied fourth at the HONMA Pilsen Golf Masters last year and now feels capable of winning her first LET title.

“Since last year my golf game improved and I do feel I can win, it’s just a matter of time for me now. I just hope I can get myself mentally prepared on the golf course and play well.”

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