High hopes for PH aces as golf unfolds

With the pressure to deliver mounting, the Filipina golfers go all-out for a strong start in what could set the tone for their gold medal drive in both the individual and team competitions in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games Monday in Phnom Penh.

Rianne Malixi, on whose broad shoulders practically rest the country’s bid after handing over the lone medal (bronze in team play) in last year’s edition of the region’s premier sporting competitions in Vietnam, drew Indonesia’s Kristina Yoko and Kann Vong of Cambodia at 8:05 a.m. at the backside of the Garden City Golf Course.


Despite blowing a final-round lead in the recent Royal Junior in Japan, the 16-year-old ace has kept a winning mindset heading into the 54-hole tournament to be disputed under the stroke play format.

“I’m pretty neutral about it, honestly,” said Malixi, referring to her Royal Junior result. “I’m excited and nervous at the same time but knowing how much preparation and hard work I’ve put in the past few weeks, I know I’ll do just fine.”

“I don’t think I’ll be doing something new or anything out of the extraordinary for me. Again, my main goal is to start fresh and try not to do anything spectacular,” added the ICTSI-backed spearhead of the national team, which includes Mafy Singson and Lois Kaye Go, member of the 2019 squad which swept the women’s gold medals in the Manila SEAG at Luisita.


The team’s gold will be contested in match play format.

Go will slug it out with Elaine Widjaya of Indonesia and Vietnamese Xuan Minh Doan at 7:55 a.m., after the 7:45 a.m. group made up of Singson, Vietnam’s Bao Nghi Than and local bet Yin Harmonie, also on No. 10.

The four-player men’s squad is also due for a big outing with many-time national team mainstay Aidric Chan leading the charge. Chan trades shots with Singapore’s Justin Zheng Zhong Kuk and Uy Doan of Vietnam at 8:30 a.m. on No. 1, while Paolo Wong kicks off their campaign at 8 a.m. against Singapore’s Brandon Han and Vietnam’s Anh Minh Nguyen.

New members Jaden Dumdumaya and Enrique Dimayuga are also raring to prove their worth, with the former clashing with Ryan Ang of Singapore and Dang Minh Nguyen of Vietnam at 8:10 a.m. and the latter colliding with Daryl Low of Singapore and Khank Hung Le of Vietnam at 8:20 a.m.

But the focus will be on the crack Thai squad, led by reigning Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific Championship winner Eila Galitsky, the best-credentialed in the fold who also tied for 28th in this year’s LPGA Tour’s first major recently, the Chevron Championship, teeing off last at 8:35 a.m. with Malaysian Geraldine Wong and Aloysa Atienza of Singapore.

The Thai men’s team is also fancied to dominate with Ratchanon Chantananuwat, boasting of an Asian Tour leg win last year, eager to flaunt his talent and skills against Indonesia’s Rayhan Latief and Muhammad Hezri of Malaysia.

Completing the Thai crew are Navaporn Soontreeyapas and Prim Prachnakorn (women’s) and Ashita Piamkulvanich, Arsit Areephun, and Jidadech Chaowarat (men’s).

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