Malixi boosts Philippine Ladies Open cast


    RIANNE Malixi, coming off an explosive start to a new season, sets out for another major championship run, joining a crack mix of local and foreign bidders in the Philippine Ladies Open set Feb. 18-20 at the Manila Golf Club.

    Malixi bested SEA Games team gold medalist Abby Arevalo on the third sudden 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 included 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 someday, also reigned in the Philippine Amateur Open Match Play and Northern Luzon Regional Championship.

    She is bracing for a stronger, tougher challenge in the coming 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.

    The locals will have their hands full against a slew of top and rising foreign players from Taiwan, Japan, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Saipan, among others, all primed up for three days of battle of shotmaking and mental toughness for the crown held by now pro Yuka Saso the past two years.

    Registration is ongoing with fees pegged at P10,000 for local participants and $300 for foreign entries, inclusive of one practice round with organizers also targeting to draw Class A and B players.

    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.