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Malixi’s fighting heart, strong mind key Aussie triumph

Rianne Malixi beams with pride after her victory in Australia. | Photograph COURTESY OF Australian Master of the Amateurs

After missing out on the title last year, Rianne Malixi’s triumph on her first tournament for 2024 carries with it a special meaning.

Not only it slays the ghost of a frustrating season, it also bodes well for a very promising year.

“This win is definitely memorable as it is my first amateur title in a foreign soil,” the 16-year-old golf hotshot told the DAILY TRIBUNE after ruling the Australian Master of the Amateurs Championship in Melbourne.

First it was accomplished just as her mother, Michelle, was celebrating her birthday. She flew in from Manila to watch Rianne don the green jacket.

“It means a lot especially with my mom coming here. It’s a great birthday present for my mom,” Rianne said.

“But I’m just trying to soak it all in. This is a confidence booster for the next week’s event as well.”

Rianne is staring at a heavy calendar of overseas tournaments, the better to prepare for her eventual stint with Duke later in the year.

But by any indications, the win signified that her mental game is getting stronger and stronger — a quality of a truly elite athlete.

All through the four rounds, she was fighting nip and tuck for the leadership.

Especially in the final round where she shared top spot with different contenders all through the 18 holes.

“Coming down the stretch, I made a lot of birdies, just banking birdie after birdie, capitalizing on the par 5s to have a much smoother flow heading the second nine,” Rianne recalled.

“It was a good thing that I made a run of birdies early on, so I didn’t really pressure or stress myself as much. I only focused on greens and just taking advantage of the birdie opportunities.”

Oh, she’s going to face bigger pressure down the road. But the important thing is that she’s proven she can handle them.

And still win.


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