Ladies European Tour Preview- Lalla Meryem Cup- Morocco
Location: Rabat, Morocco
Course: Royal Golf Dar Es Salam (Blue)
Distance: 6,364 yards
Defending Champion: Klara Spilkova -8
Prize Fund: €450,000
The European Tour events this year have been great. The Australia stretch at the beginning of the year was fantastic to watch, there was momentum, you got to know the players and you could really connect with all the developing stories. However, since the 1st March we have only had one other tournament in South Africa. After this tournament in Morocco we have to wait until the 31st May for our next event. It is very hard for the fans to really get behind the tour like the LPGA. Fans want to see stories and patterns developing and not just over in America but around Europe as well. Women's golf has never been so well received by the general public and its up to the Ladies European Tour to step up.
A quick mention to the LET Access Series that usually takes place when the LET is not on. They are high quality events usually with some of the starts of the LET playing. Click here for the 2018 tour schedule. Next Event VP Bank Ladies Open
Thursday sees the start of the latest event on the LET- The Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco and we take a look at some of the players taking part this week.
We will start with home favorite Maha Haddioui (above). She is coming off her best career finish in the last event in South Africa. She finished 3rd, 5 shots behind eventual winner Ashleigh Buhai. Maha, currently sits 35th on the OofM. In the last 2 years she has finished in 29th and 21st in this event and she is looking to use her good form to go even better at her home event. When asked about her chances she said “There is definitely added pressure but it’s not the people putting in on me, it’s me putting it on myself. The people are really encouraging and one thing that really lifts you up when playing golf is having a crowd follow you and it definitely helps to carry you.“The course is playing tough, so I would think the winning score will be around minus 8 or possibly minus 10, as the conditions are better than last year. Last year we got quite a bit of wind, so let’s say minus 9!”
Meghan Maclaren (above) has made the dream start to 2018 after winning the OofM on the LET Access Series last year. She claimed her maiden LET tour victory in March when she won the Women's NSW Open. Speaking this week Meghan said “After my win in Australia, I’m going to have confidence forever from that, I think!. “I didn’t have much time to celebrate, as I was so exhausted from all the adrenaline. It all hit at once and fell away at once. It was nice to go back and see my family a little bit and carry on with things as normal.“Slow and steady is still the approach to improving things but getting my first win made everything more concrete. I still want to approach things the same way and the win gives me a few more tournaments to play in, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Since her win, she missed the cut on her opening event on the Symetra Tour in the USA but looks sure to bounce back in Morocco. She currently sits in 8th place on the OofM. Meghan is definitely a player to keep an eye on this year and could easily emulate the success of fellow English player Georgia Hall.
Finishing 2nd behind Meghan was Norwegian Marita Engzelius. Martina claimed victory in the opening event of the LET Access Series at the Terre Blanche Ladies Open 2 weeks ago. After her victory at the weather affected event, she said "It was not the way I wanted to do it but it was tough out there today. It’s a lot of fun to have won, I played great in the first two rounds and I’m happy with that." We see no reason why she can not continue her form into this event in Morocco. Marita may be an LET rookie, but she has plenty of experience. She played on the LPGA in 2013 and following that played for four years on the Symetra Tour, where she won the 2014 Symetra Tour Championship.
Anne van damn one of our 10 to watch for 2018 has got off to a slightly slow start in 2018. She is playing both the LET and the Symetra Tour in America and has not got her season off to the best start. However, last year she was the longest hitter on tour and showed some fine form. She has put in a lot of practice in between tournaments and its just a matter of time before things click into gear for her. She does have a LET victory to her name which will make crossing the finishing line easier the 2nd time around.
Two players in red hot form are American, Casey Danielson and German, Olivia Cowan (above). Casey has made a good start to life on the European Tour. She also has fond memories of playing in Morocco after winning the Q school final at the end of last season. The 22 year old from the USA has had 3 top 15 finishes in 4 starts including finishing runner up to Maclaren in Australia. When asked about being back in Morocco she said “It’s awesome to be back in Morocco. Rabat and this whole event is amazing. Being here with the men is really fun!” she said, referring to the fact that the Hassan II Golf Trophy is played over the adjacent Red Course concurrently.“The course here in Rabat is a lot different to Palm Golf Ourika and Amelkis Golf in Marrakech, in that there are narrower fairways and more trees. The only similarity really is the weather.“I’m hitting the ball well and I’ve got my caddie here, so I feel really comfortable. I would love a Moroccan double: that would be incredible!”
Olivia Cowan is the highest ranked player currently on the OofM playing this week, currently sitting in 6th place. The 21 year old from Germany has had a good start to the season matching Casey with 3 top 15 finishes in 4 starts. She also made her debut in the Symetra Tour at the IOA Championship at the beginning of April finishing a very respectable 7th. Sitting 187th in the world currently she will be looking for a few more good performances to break into that top 100.
Manon Molle (above) from France who spends a lot of her time in Morocco will look to continue her exiting start to her rookie season. Manon a Q school graduate has had 3 top 25s already this year! Molle will be looking to emulate fellow French player Camille Chevalier who won the 2017 Rookie of the Year.
Georgia Oboh (above), a 16-year-old amateur from Nigeria will be playing in this event. It will be interesting to see how the 2015 U.S. Kids Golf Teen World champion gets on on the LET. She has claimed 3 national titles in a row at such a young age and there is a great deal of hype about Georgia in Nigeria, which is not known for it's golf. She said when asked about her beginning in golf “I began taking lessons at – Brocket Hall Golf Club in Hertfordshire, England. From there I have had several coaches in multiple countries but ultimately my father taught me the great game of golf and continues to do so till date. He knows me better than anyone and so I trust that he has my best interests at heart,” We will be keeping a close eye on Georgia's future progress.
This Week- Olivia Cowan (Ger)
Top 10- 2
Top 25- 1
Made Cut- 2
Missed Cut- 0