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Maha Haddioui, who created history for Arab women when she became the first from the region to earn full playing privileges on the Ladies European Tour, will definitely be the one to watch alongside some of the superstars of the game when next week’s Omega Dubai Ladies Masters is played at the Majlis course of Emirates Golf Club from December 4-7.

And the 24-year-old from Agadir, Morocco, is also confident of performing in the €500,000 (Dh2.5m) tournament, saying she is not here just to make up the numbers in the Ladies European Tour’s seasonending championship.

Haddioui is playing her first full season on the Tour, and while she is getting used to life as a professional, she is also upbeat having notched up her best finish of the season – a tied 20th place in the Lacoste Ladies Open de France in September this year.

The presence of names such as world No3 Stacy Lewis, defending champion and last week’s LPGA Tourholders Title winner Shanshan Feng, and the legendary Laura Davies in the field for the Ladies Masters does not deter Haddioui and she said ahead of her Dubai visit: “I know what it takes to compete at the highest level of golf. I am upbeat and focused.”

Haddioui, 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 NCCA 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,” she added.

Haddioui, who finished 20th during the Second Stage of Qualifying to earn her Ladies European Tour card in December 2012, added: “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.

“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.”

Dubai Aluminium extends support to giD tournaments

Dubai Aluminium (Dubal), which has been associated as a sponsor of Dubai Desert Classic from its very first year in 1989, provided a massive boost to organizers and promoters ‘golf in DUBAi’ (giD) when they extended their support to the Desert Classic and the Dubai Ladies Masters for the next three years.

Ranked as one of the world’s largest single-site primary aluminium smelters, Dubal has been the principal sponsor of the tournament for 19 years in its 24-year history, and the new agreement will see them take their long-term association with the two premier events in the region through to 2017.

Abdulla Kalban, President amd Chief Executive Officer, Dubal, said: “Dubal is delighted to continue its association with ‘golf in DUBAi’ as we consider corporate investment in the growth and development of Dubai to be both a duty and a privilege.

“The partnership reflects Dubal’s corporate commitment to back community initiatives and the broader goals of the Dubai and UAE governments.

“We take pride in supporting world-class events that showcase and promote both the city of Dubai and Dubal across the world.

“The Dubai Desert Classic is an established landmark event for the city and the addition of Dubai Ladies Masters in 2006 further cemented the city’s reputation as one of the most sought-after golfing destinations in the world.”

World No1 Tiger Woods and former world No1 and 2009 champion Rory McIlroy will headline a strong field when the Dubai Desert Classic celebrates its 25th anniversary at Emirates Golf Club from January 27 to February 2, 2014.

The two will join an illustrious list of past champions to ensure an exciting atmosphere, befitting the silver jubilee celebrations of an event that has not only contributed to the rapid growth of golf in the region, but also fuelled the real estate boom as the shimmering skyline forming the backdrop of Emirates Golf Club suggests.

Later this month, a galaxy of superstars from both sides of the Atlantic, led by world No3 Stacy Lewis, will descend on Dubai to showcase their talent during the Dubai Ladies Masters. Also here to defend her crown will be China’s Shanshan Feng, who won an LPGA Tour title this Sunday.

IN BRIEF

Wivous win RAK Mixed Amateur Open with ease
Joe Wivou and daughter Zenia scored a superb 44 points to win the 8th RAK Mixed Amateur Open by a big margin of three points over their nearest competitors.

The format for the annual pairs event was Betterball Stableford, and Joe and Zenia got off to an absolute flyer scoring two fourpointers and three three-pointers in their outward nine of 24 points.

This was followed by a much more solid back nine of 20 points. Mohammed Darwish and Rabab Al Haj put together consistent nines of 21 and 20 points and were runners-up with 41 points.

Third place required a card play-off as both Eric and Rita Engelbrecht, and Tony Cashman and Ma Li Min recorded identical scores of 40 points. Eric and Rita won with a better back nine of 20 points.

Yas Links members tee up for Movember charity
The team of Mike Knox, Afi Taylor, Scott Townsend and Glenn Sulphin won the Movember charity event for members and guests of Yas Links recently with 98 points.

The format was four-man team stableford with the best two scores counting on the par 5 and par 4 holes and all four scores counting on the par 3s.

Scoring was extremely close, with the team of James and Chris Cook, Manny Ostojic and William Royce losing out to the winners by a single point. Nearly Dh5,000 was raised for the charity.

Tyson knocks out the boys for Rosewood win
Lina Tyson, the only female player in the field, proved too strong for her male counterparts as she won the latest instalment of Saadiyat Beach Golf Club’s popular Rosewood Bowl Members Medal competition.

Tyson carded an impressive round of 70, while Ken Johnstone and Alok Kakar were tied for second place with rounds of 74 each.

The Rosewood Bowl Members Medal competition is held at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club with the support of Rosewood Abu Dhabi. The next event will be held on Friday, December 6.

 

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