Short-handed PH golfers swing to action against elite rivals


Posted at Sep 28 2023 12:25 AM

Filipina golfer Rianne Malixi. PSC-POC Media Pool/File.
Filipina golfer Rianne Malixi. PSC-POC Media Pool/File.

Young Filipina golfer Rianne Malixi will bank on an intensive buildup when she and Lois Kaye Go launch their drive in women's golf in the 19th Asian Games at the West Lake International Golf Country Club in Xihu District, Thursday.

The country's bid to defend the individual and team gold medal suffered a snag after the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (HAGOC) denied an appeal to include Chanelle Avaricio in place of Princess Superal.

The Philippines found itself with no other recourse but to vie in the three-to-play, two-to-count format with only Malixi and Go.

But Malixi and Go remain upbeat of their chances in the individual competitions bannered by Chinese Yin Ruoning, who held the world's top ranking for two consecutive weeks (September 11 to 24) before yielding it to American Lilia Vu this week.

Yin is the top contender for gold along with India's Avani Prashanth, Saki Baba and Mizuki Hashimoto of Japan and Thais Eila Galitsky, Patcharajutar Kongkraphan and Arpichaya Yubol.

Korea has sent a powerhouse squad in a bid to regain the team gold it last won in 2010 in Guangzhou. The Koreans also swept the individual gold medals for three straight Asiad staging from 2006 in Doha, to Guangzhou to 2014 in Incheon.

Yuka Saso broke that streak of dominance in Jakarta in 2018, but she has since opted to represent Japan. The other member of that gold medal-winning team, Bianca Pagdanganan, is focusing on regaining her Ladies PGA card.

Superal would have been a key addition to the team but she begged off due to conflict in schedule with her Japan Step Up Tour campaign.

Meanwhile, the men's team of Clyde Mondilla and Ira Alido, along with amateurs Aidric Chan and Carl Corpus, also faces a formidable set of rivals whose teams are bannered by some of the world's leading pros, led by South Korea's Sungjae The world No. 27 Im, a former PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and a two-time PGA Tour winner.

Others in the told are world No. 40 Si Woo Kim, also from Korea, India's Anirban Lahiri, SSP Chawrasia and Shubankar Sharma, Chinese We Shun and Wenyi Ding, and Thais Asian Tour campaigners Poom Saksansin, Danthai Boonma and Phachara Kongwhatmai.