Rianne Malixi closes out strong to reign in Melbourne
AMATEUR GOLF

Rianne Malixi closes out strong to reign in Melbourne

/ 05:20 AM January 13, 2024

Rianne Malixi: Second round 69 —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Rianne Malixi —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

After a fruitless overseas campaign last year, Rianne Malixi got her new season going on a smashing note after coming back from four strokes down to rule the Australian Master of the Amateurs Championship tournament by one over India’s Avani Prashanth at Southern Golf Club in Melbourne.

The 16-year-old Malixi, easily the finest amateur talent the country has had since Yuka Saso, closed out with a four-under-par 69 for a 285 tally to win the seventh holding of the event considered as one of the most prestigious tournaments Down Under.

“I feel very happy. It’s such an honor to be here,” said Malixi, who wore the symbolic green jacket as she shared the stage with men’s champion Phoenix Campbell. “I’m grateful for the experience.”

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Malixi’s win gives the Filipino star the boost she needs for upcoming challenges, including the Australian Amateur in Victoria next week, and the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship on Feb. 1-4 in Thailand next month.

With coach Rick Gibson as caddy, Malixi also earned a spot in the Webex Players Series Hunter Valley, a fully sanctioned Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia and WPGA Tour of Australasia at the Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort in New South Wales on Feb. 15-18.

Local ace Lion Higo, the 2021 champion, had a four-shot lead to start the day but couldn’t hold on. She finished with a 76, three shots off Malixi, who is backed by ICTSI.

Prashanth, the Queen Sirikit Cup champion, shared second with Malixi at the start of the round but couldn’t match the Filipino’s sizzling finish, which was highlighted by a birdie on No. 16. A 70 had her finishing a stroke ahead of Nika Ito of Japan, who fired a 71.

Both Ito and Prashanth coughed up shots on the 15th before Malixi took the lead a hole later and preserving it with a routine par on the 72nd hole.

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TAGS: Golf, Rianne Malixi

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