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Tough challenge, historic finish beckon Malixi

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF ICTSI RIANNE Malixi is determined to realize her dream of playing at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.

It’s only fair that the Philippines’ brightest hope in golf plays in the most prestigious courses in the world.

Rianne Malixi lined up a lot of tournaments this year, but on 3 to 6 April, she gets to test the legendary Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.

That is, if she makes the final round of the fifth Augusta National Women’s Amateurs.

She made it to the list of 72 best women amateur golfers who will provide an appetizer just a week before the Masters.

Yuka Saso was still carrying the national colors when she finished third in this event in 2019. She’s now representing Japan in the international circuit.

Young as she is, Malixi has been to some of the biggest stages of the sport before.

One of the most famous courses she played was the Cog Hill in Chicago where Tiger Woods won several times including the one where he shot a record nine-under-par 62.

Just last week, Malixi fired a sizzling 63 in finishing joint fifth in the Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific at Siam Country Club in Thailand.

Malixi played Cog Hill in 2022 for the PGA Girls Junior where she wound up second place.

The Filipina incoming scholar at Duke University also played the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2021 PGA Girls Junior where she placed fifth. Woods won his second straight PGA Championship there in 2000.

“She sees this as bigger than any of the events she played with. Matagal na nya tina-target ito (She has this on her sights for a long time),” Malixi’s father, Roy, told Tribune Golf.

Malixi is 37th in the world among amateurs. Her participation allows the Philippines to be among 18 countries represented in the Augusta meet.

Two of the last three champions, Tsubasa Kajitani (2021) and Anna Davis (2022), will play in the tournament. Top-ranked amateur and three-time participant Ingrid Lindblad will also see action.

The Augusta National Women’s Amateur is a 54-hole tournament, cutting the top 30 players after two rounds.

First two rounds will be played at the Island and Bluff at Champions Retreat Golf Club 3 to 4 April. Those who make the grade will play on 5 April at Augusta National for the official practice round before the final round 6 April.

The last Filipino to see action at Augusta as a competitor was Frankie Miñoza, who played in the Masters in 1991.

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