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Rianne leads SEA Games quest

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF National Golf Association of the Philippines Manila-based golfers Rianne Malixi (middle), LK Go (left) and Mafy Singson are set to leave on Thursday ahead of the individual tournament slated for Monday at the Garden City Golf Club.

Rianne Malixi sank a pressure-packed chip off the green on the fourth playoff hole against Singapore to lead the Philippines to a bronze medal finish in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam last year.

She earlier muffed a five-foot downhill putt on the third extra hole, extending the playoff.

But after she and Suanne Loh overshot the green on the fourth extra hole, Malixi produced the shot that found the cup and put pressure on the Singaporean star.

Loh hit a solid chip shot that went headed to the hole only to swerve left at the last minute.

The Filipino gallery burst into wild celebration after winning the only medal in golf.

Fast forward to 2023.

Malixi, a seasoned warrior at 16, is again leading the Philippine campaign in the SEA Games in Cambodia with Lois Kaye Go and Mafy Singson.

She is bent on improving her ninth place finish in the individual division.

Toughened by stints in the United States, Asia and the local professional tour, Malixi is ready to go into battle.

Unlike her teammates who practice together, Malixi prefers to train by her lonesome at the Royal Northwoods golf course in Bulacan.

“No distractions,” quipped Roy, her supportive father.

In her last outing, Malixi bungled a two-shot lead, hitting out of bounds off the tee that led to a triple bogey and joint third place in The Royal Junior tournament in Ibaraki, Japan a little over a week ago.

Now ranked 100th in the world, Malixi will be one of the players to watch.

Go, who won gold medals in the Asian and SEA Games, will be making her last tournament as an amateur. She placed fourth in Vietnam last year.

Singson, on the other hand, is hoping to improve on her eighth place in the last SEA Games.

Thailand’s Eila Galitsky looms as the Filipinas’ biggest stumbling block.

The Thai-Canadian is fresh from an impressive joint 28th in the Chevron Championship in Texas two weeks ago. She took the low amateur honors in the LPGA Tour’s first major of the season.

She also topped the Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific Championship in Singapore last March where Malixi took a share of 13th spot.

Galitsky is hoping to defend the women’s title won by Nattakritta Vongtaveelap, who is now campaigning in the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour.

The last Filipino individual winner in golf was Bianca Pagdanganan who dominated the field in the 2019 SEA Games hosted by the Philippines.



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