Morocco’s Ines Laklalech kicked off her week at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give with a first-round, 4-under 68, making six birdies and two bogeys on Thursday at Blythefield Country Club. Starting her day on the par-5, 10th hole, Laklalech grabbed a birdie to go 1-under early, quickly erasing that effort with a bogey on No. 11. She made five consecutive pars before birdieing the par-4, 17th hole to turn in 35, and then recorded four birdies and one bogey on the front nine to close with a 3-under, 33 and post a 68, her lowest first-round score to par this season. This week in Belmont, Mich., marks the seventh start of the 2023 rookie’s season and the 25-year-old says that she’s been doing her best to apply what she’s learned in her first six events to the rest of her inaugural year on Tour.
“I think the first few events I needed a little bit of time just to get used to things, get a little bit more comfortable and I’m definitely feeling better,” said Laklalech, whose best finish of the year is a T33 at the JM Eagle LA Championship presented by Plastpro. “But I'm learning every round, every day, and I have tried to implement all the things I learned so far since the beginning of this season and it is great. It is not always working my way like I want it to, but I'm just accepting what destiny holds for me and it's good.
Laklalech finished inside the top 45 and ties at 2022 LPGA Q-Series to earn LPGA Tour membership for the 2023 season and is the LPGA’s first member from Morocco, as well as the first member the Arab region and North Africa. It’s a distinction that can come with a lot of pressure, especially being the only person to represent an entire region within a sport that isn’t commonly enjoyed within the region. But Laklalech, in just her second year as a professional, is taking everything in stride, and despite missing four cuts in her six previous starts before teeing it up at Blythefield, remains grateful for the position she’s in, hoping to make the most of each opportunity that comes her way.
“I think when you get here quickly, like I've done, it's just my second year as a pro, it can be a little bit overwhelming. At the same time, you're just happy to be here. I think you just don't have to think too much and just be present and live in the present moment,” said Laklalech, who won her first pro event on the Ladies European Tour last season at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France. “What I've learned is when I enjoy myself, I perform better in general because I'm open to anything. It frees up my game and makes the day better and I'm enjoying it.”
“(I) really like just doing what I did today: committing to every shot, sticking to my routine, and not changing anything. Just enjoying tomorrow as well.”