[Samanah Country Club Marrakech]
The increasing demand from women golfers worldwide to compete against women’s golfing elite as a member of the Ladies European Tour has resulted in the launch of three pre-qualifying events for the first time in Tour history. Players and federations looking towards qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are also recognising the opportunities available by holding playing rights on the Ladies European Tour.
The Robert Trent Jones-designed Royal Dar Es Salam in Rabat, which hosted the Moroccan Open four times and the Hassan II Golf Trophy from 1971-2010, will host the three Pre-Qualifiers.
Entrants to Tour School will be given the opportunity to select one of the three pre-qualifers to compete in as follows: Pre-Qualifier A – Royal Golf Dar Es Salam Red Course, 28th November – 1st December 2013; Pre-Qualifier B – Royal Golf Dar Es Salam Red Course, 5th – 8th December 2013; Pre-Qualifier C – Royal Golf Dar Es Salam Blue Course, 5th – 8th December.
A percentage of the field from each Pre-Qualifier will progress to the Final Qualifier, to be held over the Samanah and Al Maaden courses in Marrakech.
Al Maaden (a Kyle Phillips layout which debuted in 2010) hosted the Lalla Aïcha Tour School for the first time in December 2012, while the Samanah (a Nicklaus Design track that opened in 2011) will host the LET hopefuls for the first time.
The Final Qualifier will be played over five rounds, with one field split in two playing the first four rounds over the Samanah and Al Maaden courses alternately on 14th-17th December.
After a cut to the top 60 players and ties, the final round will be played at Al Maaden on 18th December. The top 30 and ties will be offered category 8a membership, securing playing privileges to the majority of tournaments on the 2014 Ladies European Tour.
Director of Tour School Sally McPherson is delighted to be welcoming Royal Dar Es Salam and Samanah to the Tour School family of venues. “Dar Es Salam is amongst the finest golf courses in the world and is a wonderful flagship for golf in Morocco. The Tour School competitors will be feeling the pressure, as it’s a really tough couple of weeks for them. I’m confident that Dar Es Salam will provide an exciting and challenging test of the players’ skills and for those who go forward to the Final Qualifier in Marrakech they will truly feel they have earned their spot. Al Maaden proved a very good venue for Tour School last year and the addition of Samanah compliments it perfectly. Its superb layout and presentation will I’m sure be appreciated by the players.”
As part of an agreement with the Hassan II Golf Trophy Association (ATH), chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid, which also organises the Trophée Hassan II and Lalla Meryem Golf Cup tournaments on the European Tour and Ladies European Tour respectively, the LET qualifying tournament will continue to be known as the Lalla Aïcha Tour School in honour of Her Royal Highness late Princess Lalla Aïcha, His late Majesty Hassan II’s sister and the aunt of His Majesty King Mohammed VI.
It is particularly fitting given that Her Royal Highness Late Princess Lalla Aïcha contributed enormously to the development of women’s golf in Morocco.The first Arab woman ambassador, to London from 1965-1969 and then to Rome from 1970-1973, Her Royal Highness late Princess Lalla Aïcha had participated in the Hassan II Golf Trophy and Lalla Meryem Cup since the 1970s and played 18 holes every day until she passed away in September, 2011.