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Exclusive U.S. Women's Open

Exclusive: Meet Malak Bouraeda, the first Arab golfer to play US Women’s Open

By Matt Smith
There are weeks in every golfer’s career that stand out from the rest. None come bigger than this week for amateur Malak Bouraeda, as the Moroccan is set to become the first Arab golfer to compete at the US Women’s Open at Pine Hills from June 2-5.

Malak sealed her spot in the most dramatic of fashions last week as she won her first ever medal at the Colorado Golf Association’s US Open Qualifier at the Walnut Creek Golf Preserve in Westminster -— securing the only spot available in the event.

Next stop is now Southern Pines in North Carolina, to rub shoulders with the likes of Nelly Korda, Michelle Wie West and Annika Sorenstam at the major.

Golf Digest Middle East caught up with University of Colorado Boulder senior Malak ahead of her momentous, historic week as she looks to inspire the next generation of Arab hopefuls.

Q. It has been quite a journey, can you tell us how you managed to clinch your spot and what it means to you?
A. I battled hard at my qualifying site with 40 players vying for the No. 1 spot. It meant everything for me to win that qualifier and make it to Pine Needles in my first US Women’s Open. It is truly a dream come true and I am very excited to see what unfolds this week!

Q. There must be an immense sense of pride at your achievement for Morocco and the Arab world.
A. It is a huge honour to represent the Moroccan flag and the Arab world at large.  I am hoping this achievement will inspire the next generation of female golfers.

Q. What are your expectations now you are in the field alongside the best players in the world?
A. I am planning to play my best and let the chips fall where they may.  I have been working very hard and continue to prepare .  I want to make the cut, but if I don’t, I know I would have given it my best.  Either way, I will enjoy my time this week and take what comes as it comes and not get too ahead of myself. I think that approaching this big stage in that way will be beneficial in making it a memorable week.

Q. What is the next step in your career?
A. As of now, I am returning to the University of Colorado to get my Masters degree and finish my eligibility. After that, I will look into turning pro.

Q. Do you think you can be an inspiration to help motivate other Arab golfers make it to the big stage?
A.That is a huge goal of mine and I feel like it is something that I strive to do — inspire the next generation and show them that anything is truly possible. I feel the support of not only Morocco but the Arab world as well which has been very moving and motivating for me.

Malak Bouraeda is heading to the US Women’s Open. Supplied

Need to know

What: 2022 U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica
Where: Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, Southern Pines, N.C.
When: Thursday-Sunday, June 2-5
Purse: $10 million
Last year’s champion. Yuka Saso

Round 1 tee times
Tee No. 1
7.15am – Allison Emrey, Nicole Garcia, Lauren Miller
7.26am – Kathleen Scavo, Alicia Joo, Jillian Hollis
7.37am – Grace Kim, Minsol Kim, Catherine Park
7.48am – Bailey Davis, Gemma Dryburgh, Amanda Doherty
7.59am – Allisen Corpuz, Annie Park, Lilia Vu
8.10am – Eun-Hee Ji, Andrea Lee, Ai Suzuki
8.21am – Alison Lee, Amy Olson, Matilda Castren
8.32am – Yuka Saso, Jensen Castle, Anna Nordqvist
8.43am – Mirim Lee, Angel Yin, Brittany Altomare
8.54am – Maja Stark, Pajaree Anannarukarn, Sakura Koiwai
9.05am – Hannah Green, Jessica Korda, Lydia Ko
9.16am – Pornanong Phatlum, Jaye Marie Green, Mayu Hamada
9.27am – Beth Wu, Auston Kim, Linnea Johansson
12.45pm – Blakesly Brock, Alexa Pano, Sofia Garcia
12.56pm – Gabriela Ruffels, Laney Frye, Cheyenne Knight
1.07pm – Robynn Ree, Muni He, Malak Bouraeda
1.18pm – Na Yeon Choi, Pernilla Lindberg, In-Kyung Kim
1.29pm – Momoko Ueda, Moriya Jutanugarn, Bohyun Park
1.40pm – Hinako Shibuno, Georgia Hall, Sophia Popov
1.51pm – In Gee Chun, Megan Khang, Ryann O’Toole
2.02pm – Mina Harigae, Carlota Ciganda, Hyejin Choi
2.13pm – Hyo Joo Kim, Nanna Koerstz Madsen, Xiyu Janet Lin
2.24pm – Danielle Kang, Nelly Korda, Atthaya Thitikul
2.35pm – Rose Zhang, Lucy Li, Anna Davis
2.46pm – Lauren Hartlage, Ami Gianchandani, Julianne Alvarez
2.57pm – Jeonghyun Lee, Britney Yada, Yunxuan Michelle Zhang

Tee No. 9
7.00am – Anna Morgan, Gabby Lemieux, Ingrid Gutierrez
7.11am – Lauren Kim, Mariel Galdiano, Melanie Gree
7.33am – Caroline Masson, Angela Stanford, Mel Reid
7.44am – So Mi Lee,Pia Babnik, Louise Duncan
7.55am – Ariya Jutanugarn, Stacy Lewis, Yealimi Noh
8.06am – Marina Alex, Wayne, Ally Ewing, Gaby Lopez
8.17am – A Lim Kim, Mao Saigo, Madelene Sagstrom
8.28am – Nasa Hataoka, Minjee Lee, Brooke Henderson
8.39am – Lexi Thompson, Jennifer Kupcho, Jin Young Ko
8.50am – Annika Sorenstam, So Yeon Ryu, Ingrid Lindblad
9.01am – Tiffany Chan, Lauren Gomez, Daniela Darquea
9.12am – Nika Ito, Alyaa Abdul, Kylee Choi
12.30pm – Frida Kinhult, Saki Baba, Yuna Takagi
12.41pm – Isi Gabsa, Marissa Steen, Karissa Kilby
12.52pm – Lauren Kim, Wenbo Liu, Lydia Hall
1.03pm – Bianca Pagdanganan, Maude-Aimee LeBlanc, Sara Im
1.14pm – Stephanie Meadow, Annabell Fuller, Bronte Law
1.25pm – Pauline Roussin, Paula Reto, Bailey Shoemaker
1.36pm – Michelle Wie West, Brittany Lang, Sung Hyun Park
1.47pm – Hae Ran Ryu, Yuna Nishimura, Amy Yang
1.58pm – Celine Boutier, Patty Tavatanakit, Sei Young Kim
2.09pm – Lizette Salas, Leona Maguire, Jeongeun Lee6
2.20pm – Na Rin An, Ayaka Furue, Charley Hull
2.31pm – Alexandra Forsterling, Yuri Onishi, Smilla Sonderby
2.42pm – Ilhee Lee, Karen Kim, Natsumi Hayakawa

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