Manila, Philippines: Diminutive Rianne Malixi will be walking tall when she steps onto the first tee in the 12th edition of the Faldo Series Philippines Championship.
Less than two weeks ago the 12-year-old wrote her name into the Philippines golfing record books by becoming the youngest winner of the National Stroke Play Championship.
In a nerve-jangling finale, Malixi confounded the odds to defeat Southeast Asian Games team gold medallist Abby Arevalo at the third hole of a sudden-death play-off – a triumph that has prompted some to describe the prodigy as the next great hope of Philippines golf.
It was a remarkable achievement for Malixi, who crushes her drives between 230 yards and 250 yards despite standing only five-foot one-inch (1.54 metres) tall.
Not that success is anything new to the girl who took up the game at the age of eight, idolises Tiger Woods and has her heart set on a career on the LPGA Tour.
On home soil last year, Malixi won the Philippine Junior Amateur Open and the Northern Luzon Regional Amateur Championship. She also claimed first place in the FCG International 2019 in San Marcos, United States and was runner-up in her age group at the IMG Junior World Golf Championship in San Diego.
On the back of those performances, Malixi has risen to 1,259th in The R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking. Another victory in the 16th event of the 2019-20 Faldo Series Asia at Valley Golf and Country Club this week will enable her to get closer to breaking into the top 1,000 and further boost her confidence ahead of next month’s Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific in Thailand.
It would also secure her a starting spot in the 14th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Vietnam’s Laguna Lăng Cô from March 4-6.
Organised by the Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines (JGFP), a non-profit organisation dedicated to the growth and development of golf in the country, this year’s Faldo Series Philippines Championship also sees a strong male contingent, headlined by Jacob Rolida.
The 18-year-old Rolida took top honours in last year’s Faldo Series Philippines Championship and went on to finish joint 10th in the Boys’ Under-18 division in Vietnam.
The 2019-20 Faldo Series Asia season is supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation. The International Junior Golf Academy is a partner of the Faldo Series.