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First Qatar Ladies golf open set to tee-off this week


Golfers Aditi Ashok, Georgia Hall and Maha Haddioui at Qatar Ladies Open 2016
Golfers Aditi Ashok, Georgia Hall and Maha Haddioui at Qatar Ladies Open 2016

More than 100 golfers from around the world are in Doha this week ahead of the tee-off of the inaugural Qatar Ladies Open tomorrow.

The four-day event at Doha Golf Club is a new destination on the schedule of the Ladies European Tour.

The tour is a series of 21 tournaments for elite golfers that takes place from February to December around the world. It is held in countries including New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan, Morocco and several nations across Europe.

Golfer Laura Davies
Golfer Laura Davies

Both Qatar and the UAE have joined the line-up for the first time this year. Golfers arrived in Doha earlier this week and have been practicing on the course since Sunday.

One of the well-known names set to play in Doha is Laura Davies from the UK, who has won the Ladies European Tour (LET) order of merit a record seven times.

Other experienced competitors include Florentyna Parker, Trish Johnson, Gwladys Nocera, Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall.

Play starts at 6.30am tomorrow, Nov. 23 as the golfers compete for a cut of the QR2 million prize money.

Rising stars

Up-and-coming players to watch out for during the event, which runs until Nov. 26, include India’s 18-year-old Aditi Ashok, Maha Haddioui from Morocco and 20-year-old Georgia Hall from the UK.

Ashok, who turned professional in January this year, competed in the Rio Olympics earlier this year and last week won the Hero Indian Women’s Open.

Aditi Ashok takes part in Qatar's Ladies Open in Nov 2016
Aditi Ashok takes part in Qatar\’s Ladies Open in Nov 2016

In a statement, she said: “Obviously it was my first win of my career, which is always the hardest, and now I’m more confident going into every event.

“I’ve only played the front nine since I’ve been here (in Doha) and I think it’s a challenging course and with the wind it’ll play different every day. I’m sure if I can keep my momentum I can do well again this week.”

Georgia Hall takes part in Qatar Ladies Open, Nov. 2016
Georgia Hall takes part in Qatar Ladies Open, Nov. 2016

This will be the first time in Qatar for Hall, who has played professionally for the last two years and has been in the Middle East a number of times.

Meanwhile, Moroccan 18-year-old Haddioui also represented her country at this year’s Olympics.

She said: “It’s always great to have new tournaments but to me it’s extra special playing in Qatar being an Arab country, so it feels a bit like home.”

She added: “I’m really excited to represent Morocco here and mostly I’m really proud to be representing Arabs in general, playing this week and the LET all year. I’m looking for a top ten finish. I really like the course and it’s the type of course I enjoy playing on.”

Family fun

As well as the golf, there will also be a QLO “village” with children’s entertainment. This includes bouncy castles, games such as table football, a ball-dribbling challenge and a ball-in-a-bucket competition.

Spectators can try their hand at other sports too, including badminton, handball, volleyball and table tennis, organizers said.

There will also be snacks and drinks on sale at the Belgian Cafe at the hospitality pavilion, overlooking the 18th green.

The Qatar Ladies Open runs from Nov. 23-26 at the Doha Golf Club.

Tickets are free and can be pre-booked through the Qatar Ladies Open website, which also has a full list of the players taking part and a basic schedule of events during the competition.

Who’s going? Thoughts?

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