Moroccan trailblazer Maha Haddioui has eased up on herself after a tough Olympic Games experience in Rio de Janeiro and the pleasing results since have been celebrated across the Arab world.
At 46th on the money list heading into the week, Haddioui tees it up in her fifth Omega Dubai Ladies Masters today comfortable in the knowledge her Ladies European Tour (LET) status is safe for next season.
With the pay cheque pressure off thanks to her career best LET season, the 28-year-old Casablanca-based professional can now dream of capping 2016 with a top-10 finish at Emirates Golf Club.
Haddioui’s T14 finish at the inaugural Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open in Abu Dhabi last month hints at game good enough to achieve that, especially now she realises on course angst and good scoring are mutually exclusive.
“I used to be quite demanding on myself but that’s not the case any more. I have learned to accept things as they come,” Haddioui said.
That has included accepting her Olympic bow didn’t quite go to plan, her dream selection for Rio soured when she finished 59th and last following rounds of 82-76-80-77.
“It was absolutely amazing to represent Morocco and being part of the African contingent at the Olympic Games. But it was really tough for me as I didn’t play good golf,” said the US-educated pro who is supported by Trophée Hassan II Association.
“I think I set up an objective that was too high and I kind of just stuck to it the whole time, but I learned so much from it.
“It’s hard enough to play golf when you are trying to make a living and trying to keep your tour card. And then playing to represent your country, having like not only golfers in Morocco watch you, but every Moroccan watch you, it something bigger. The whole experience is going to help me.”
The nine-under-par performance at the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open at Saadiyat Beach showcased the Arab No.1’s new inner calmness, something she intends repeating around the Majlis this week regardless of what happens.
“I have my objective in the back of my head. I just need to play golf and try and make good shots. If it works out, great. If it doesn’t, I have tried by my best, given every shot 100 per cent.”