Why you might remember Russian Olympic golfer Maria Verchenova by a different name. . .

August 18, 2016

Maria Verchenova is one of the best woman golfers in the world, a talent proven by her playing in this week's Olympics. But she also happens to be one of the prettiest golfers on the planet. And there's a good chance you remember her face, even if you don't recognize her name.

A couple years back on, we conducted a hottest golfer competition that featured Maria, who was going by her married last name, Balikoeva, at the time. Balikoeva was also featured in the June 2014 issue of Golf Digest when the former ballerina discussed breaking par for the first time at 16.

Incredibly, Maria, a two-time Russian amateur champ and the first Russian to become a full-time member of the Ladies European Tour, failed to make it out of the second round of our contest. In fact, she got trounced by Blair O'Neal, 81 percent to 19 percent. Certainly, there's no shame in losing to O'Neal, who went on to win the contest (Ryo Ishikawa won on the men's side), but 81 to 19?


In any event, Maria is playing in Rio this week, where she is currently T-43 after shooting a second-round 70. And at 30, she's still turning heads -- especially with her headwear.