THE Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific Championship fires off Thursday at the Singapore Island Golf Club’s The New Course in Singapore with three of the world’s top 10 from Japan leading the chase along with solid Korean, New Zealand and Thailand contingents.
Rianne Malixi carries the country’s colors in the tournament where Taiwan’s Ting-Hsuan Huang will go all out to defend her crown.
“Knowing that such life-changing opportunities are at stake in winning this event, I’ll be playing my best and not put any pressure on my side,” said Malixi, who tied for third in Thailand last year after debuting with a joint 23rd place finish in the United Arab Emirates in 2021.
“I’m not expecting anything but setting goals is the best option for me,” she added.
Given the depth of the field, Malixi and fellow International Container Terminal Services Inc.-backed Mafy Singson and Cebuanas Lois Kaye Go and Junia Gabasa need to dish out their best.
On top of the crown, also at stake are berths for this year’s AIG Women’s Open, US Women’s Open and Evian Championship—three of the five major championships on the Ladies Professional Golfers Association Tour calendar.
The champion will also clinch a spot in the Augusta National Women’s Championship, featuring the world’s top amateurs, with the final round to be played at the famous Augusta National on April 1 in Georgia.
World No. 4 Rin Yoshida, No. 5 Yuna Araki and No. 10 Sayaka Teraoka, all from Japan, seek no less than strong starts to fuel their respective title drive, so do the Koreans, led by world No. 16 Minsol Kim, No. 19 Jiyoo Lim and No. 64 Kyorim Seo.
Thais Kan Bunnabodee, Pattharat Rattanawan, Eila Galitsky, Prim Prachnakorn and Navaporn Soontreeyapas also set out for the mission of re-claiming the crown won by compatriot Atthaya Thitikul six years ago.
Huang, meanwhile, expects to get better and stronger as she shoots for back-to-back championship, while world No. 15 Mizuki Hashimoto, also from Japan, seeks to do a reprise of her breakthrough feat in 2021.
Malixi drew Hashimoto and Bunnabodee in the last flight at 12:36 p.m. on No. 10, Singson faces Kiwi Amy Im and Indonesian Patricia Sinolungan at 8:14 a.m., also at the backside; Go battles Galitsky and Hong Kong’s Wai Ding at 12:25 p.m. on No. 1, and Gabasa clashes with Taniya Balasuriya of Sri Lanka and Singapore’s Anne Fernandez at 7:41 a.m., also on the 10th hole.
But the 8:36 a.m. group of Yoshida, Kim and Avani Prashanth will draw the early crowds as they brace for a shootout right on the first hole with Araki, Xu and China’s Yahui Zhang slugging it out in the 12:25 p.m. flight on No. 10.
“My ultimate goal is to really take up the best stage, turn golf professionally, not only for myself but also the future generations of Filipino players, not only for women but for everyone, as well,” said Malixi when asked on her aspirations and thoughts on being an inspiration to the young Filipino players.