If there is one motivation that drives the Philippines’ newest golfing prodigy in Rianne Malixi, it’s the thought of hearing — and singing the national anthem in the 31st Southeast Asian Games at the Heron Lake Golf Course in Vinh Phuc, Vietnam.
The women’s team of Lois Kaye Go, Mafy Singson, and 15-year-old Malixi begins its title-retention drive on Friday against a tough field that is led by world-class parbusters from golf-crazy Thailand.
“It will be exciting. I’ll play my best for the team,” said Malixi on Thursday.
“This is the biggest for me so far, playing not for myself but for our country. By playing my best, it’s like I’m paying a tribute to our flag. I’m looking forward to hearing our national anthem at the end of the tournament.”
With Jakarta Asian Games gold medalists Go and Bianca Pagdanganan leading the charge, the women’s team swept the two gold medals at stake in the 30th SEA Games which the Philippines hosted in 2019 at the Luisita Golf and Country Club. Pagdanganan snared the women’s individual title before leading the team to the gold with the support of Go and Abegail ‘Aby’ Arevalo.
In place of Pagdanganan and Arevalo, this time are young guns Malixi and Singson. Malixi won two titles at the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour and bagged the championship in the American Junior Golf Association, while Singson is coming off a title romp in the National Stroke Play Championship last April.
Standing in the way of the Filipinas are golfers from Singapore, Malaysia, and host Vietnamese. But the biggest challenge will come from the Thai team, composed of three-time Thai Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour champ Narkitta Wongthaveelap, King Rama VII Cup winner Pimkaw Nakpracha and Ella Galitzky.
Malixi said that her wish was for the triumph of Filipino golfers and the entire Team Philippines, whose participation here was funded by the Philippine Sports Commission.