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14-year-old Filipina golf prodigy completes successful U.S. stint

Steve Angeles | TFC News California

Posted at Aug 27 2021 10:52 AM

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14-year-old Rianne Malixi capped off a strong two-month run in the U.S., with stops throughout California to New York, Maryland, and Kentucky.

The Filipina bagged first place at the Se Ri Pak tournament last June. It was her first action in 18 months as the pandemic lockdowns in Manila prevented her from hitting the links.

"It was very fulfilling. It hit differently because the nerves and the pressure in the tournament were different. You haven't felt that in a long time and it felt good heading into that tournament," Malixi said.

The win propelled her to several top 5 finishes in different competitions, eventually leading to her top 16 finish at the U.S. Golf Association Girls' Junior Amateurs tournament in Maryland. Malixi said she learned a lot from that tournament.

"It was quite an achievement for me because the tournament is really huge. They made a record 1,560 players to qualify for that event and only 156 are allowed to that tournament... I was lucky enough to qualify and it felt really good placing with top players around the world."

Throughout her travels, U.S. colleges also came out to get a glimpse of the Manila-based golf prodigy. Malixi revealed that "if I do well, I might turn pro, but college golf is still a good option if I'm not ready for the bigger stage."

"Really depends on my performance in the next three to four years," she added.

Her tour came as Filipina golfers like 2021 U.S. Women's Open Champion Yuka Saso and Olympian Bianca Pagdanganan are climbing through the world rankings.

"I know Ate Yuka and Ate Bianca. I have socialized with them before when I was 11 or 12. I was very proud watching them winning, being able to make it on the LPGA and it inspires Filipinos, especially the girls. They inspired a lot of Filipino girls to play better in the sport," Malixi shared.

For now, she and her dad Roy are back in the Philippines, planning out their next steps for her fast rising amateur career. They hope to be back in the U.S. later this year to compete in big tournaments.