Laklalech earns LPGA spot for 2023 season

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Inspired by her homeland’s historic run at the World Cup, Moroccan golfer Ines Laklalech earned a place on the 2023 LPGA Tour after an eight-round qualifying tournament ended Sunday.

Laklalech fired a one-over par 73 in Sunday’s final round at Highland Oaks in Dothan, Alabama, to finish on 19-under par 555 and share 12th place.

Despite closing with her worst round of the event, her total meant the 25-year-old from Casablanca was among those who claimed berths on next year’s LPGA Tour.

Laklalech fired her low round of the event, a 6-under 66, on Saturday as her beloved Atlas Lions, the Morocco national team, became the first African and Arab team to advance to the FIFA World Cup 2022 semi-finals by upsetting Portugal 1-0 in Qatar.

“I’m a big fan of the Moroccan national team so I’m super, super happy,” Laklalech said. “It definitely gave me an extra boost (Saturday) on the course.”

Morocco World Cup coach Walid Regragui’s comments about his squad made an impression with Laklalech during her own breakthrough quest.

“I’ve been watching very closely what the national coach is saying about the team because it’s history,” she said. “And his words really gave me confidence that everything is possible because that’s their mindset right now.

“I think it’s all connected and related because I’ve been watching videos of the press conferences every single day.” Laklalech won September’s Ladies Open de France on the Ladies European Tour (LET), becoming the LET’s first Moroccan and Arab winner. She also had four other top-10 finishes on the LET this season.—AFP