RIANNE Malixi, coming off an explosive start to a new season, sets out for another title run, joining top of local and foreign shotmakers in the Philippine Ladies Open set Feb. 18 to 20 at the Manila Golf Club.
Malixi bested SEA Games team gold medalist Abby Arevalo on the third playoff hole to snare the crown in the National Stroke Play, which used to be the Philippine Amateur Open, at Riviera three weeks ago in a victory that further underscored the growing repute of the rising 12-year-old who racked up three victories in the National Amateur Tour last year.
That includes a triumph in the Philippine Junior Amateur Open at Sherwood Hills where she won the overall championship despite playing in a lower age-group category. The bespectacled shotmaker, who dreams of playing in the LPGA Tour, also won the Philippine Amateur Open Match Play and Northern Luzon Regional Championship.
But she braces for a stronger, tougher challenge in the upcoming event, organized by the Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines and accredited by the World Amateur Golf Ranking, with fellow young campaigner Eagle Ace Superal, Arnie Taguines, Mafy Singson, Junia Gabasa, Mariel Tee, Nicole Abelar, Laurea Duque, Sam Dizon and Arevalo bolstering the local roster.
A slew of top and rising foreign players from Taiwan, Japan, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Saipan, among others, are also vying for honors.
Others in the early list are Crystal Neri, Suzette Kirchner, Cynthia Birch, Stella Barnes, Grace Atienza, Nora Suzuki, Joy Sevilla, Tessie Blair, Rose Tarpley, Mimi Salinas, Gilda Medestomas, Emiri Sunga, Ina Guingona, Sophia Abarcas, Martina Miñoza, Rhea Langamin, Marichi Ojeda, Leanna Carmona, Alice Liang and Kiara Montebon.