RIANNE MALIXI hopes to get going early as she slugs it out with world amateur No. 10 Anna Davis of the US and Japanese Nika Ito at the start of the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Annika Invitational Sunday at the Eagle Creek Golf Club in Orlando, Florida.
American Yana Wilson, winner of the 2022 US Girls’ Junior title who nipped Davis in sudden death to reign here last year, banners the elite cast, a mix of 12-to-19 years old rising stars and leading players in the ranks, including Rolex AJGA No. 1 player Gianna Clemente, Katie Li, Sara Im, Alice Zhao, Thanana Kotchasanmanee and 2021 champion Avery Zweig.
Malixi, who won two AJGA crowns last year, including a playoff win in the Thunderbird All-Star, expects to measure up with the best in the fold in driving and iron game and hopes her putting will click in all three days of the championship.
“I just have to keep on knocking on doors and wait for the putts to drop,” said Malixi, whose campaign is backed by the International Container Terminal Services Inc.
In her last seven overseas tournaments in 2022, Malixi posted four runner-up finishes, going into the final round of each event in strong contention. But shaky putting stymied her title cracks, including in the Thailand Amateur Open and the Malaysian Amateur Open, although she nailed one championship in the Thai Junior World Championship.
She also finished second in the Citrus Golf Trail, which she led in the third round before yielding the crown to Kotchasanmanee three weeks ago.
Malixi is coming off a 12th place finish in the Orlando International but the world No. 151 is confident of putting up a strong showing, including a start she hopes would fuel another title drive.