Peruvian amateur Maria Salinas is competing at Lalla Aicha Tour School in Marrakech this week and should she be successful, hopes to become the first professional woman golfer from her country.
Maria, 23, started to play golf aged six with her father and brother at Lima Golf, one of only five golf courses in Peru, which are all private.
There are 2000 golfers in Peru and eight girl golfers with a scratch handicap. Maria said: “Golf is getting bigger though, they are opening the first public golf course, its nine holes but it is all sand right now. The R&A sponsors a lot of golf in South America.”
There are a few male professional golfers from Peru playing on the Latin American PGA Tour but Maria hopes to become the first to break through into Europe.
“I have been once to Europe before on vacation, but twice if you include the World Amateur in Turkey in September,” she said.
Maria has Italian grandparents and so holds dual citizenship with Peru and Italy, but doesn’t speak Italian.
Her older brother, who is a year her senior, also played competitively but quit before Maria took up golf scholarship at Florida State, from where she recently graduated.
A Quick 18 with Maria Salinas:
1. Tell me something most people don't know about you?
Probably that I have two citizenships: Italian and Peruvian.
2. What would you like to do for a living if you are not a pro golfer?
Something related to sports. I like football (soccer) a lot.
3. What is your education? Which university and degree?
Florida State University. International Affairs.
4. How many and which languages do you speak?
Spanish and English. Spanish is my first language.
5. Who would be in your dream foursome?
I would say Lorena Ochoa, Tiger and Rory.
6. What is your favourite activity you do when you want to relax?
I like to play football. I have a team with my friends back home and we play in a small league every week. They were in high school with me and we used to play at high school. Now we play together.
7. Do you have a favourite TV commercial or series?
8. What invention do you wish you had thought of?
9. What’s your favourite tradition from your country you love doing?
The food from my country, like Ceviche: its raw fish with lemon and stuff.
10. What is the one thing you have done and would never want to do again?
In the Medina (square in Marrakech), with the snakes! I don’t like snakes!
11. What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment to date?
Finished school and was a good player on my team.
12. Is there a song that you like to sing when no one is around like in the car or the shower?
Any songs of Enrique Iglesias.
13. What is your favorite store to shop in and why?
Maybe Bloomingdales that has everything back in New York.
14. What beauty product can you not live without?
15. What is your favorite time of year?
16. Favorite quote or saying?
17. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
Water, chocolate and my iPhone.
18. When did you start playing golf?
I started playing when I was six with my brother and my dad.