LOIS KAYE GO and Mafy Singson gear up for strong starts as they join Rianne Malixi in the title hunt in the 118th Malaysian Amateur Open which gets under way Thursday at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club’s Cempaka course in Johor Bahru.
Go tees off at 8 a.m. with Korean Kim Ye Rim and Malaysia’s Wang Xin Yao and Chong Shin Ling, while Singson drew an 8:40 a.m. start, also on No. 10, with Canada’s Lucy Lin, Mirabel Ting from Sarawak and Wong Xian Xuan from W. Persekutuan.
But focus will be on Malixi, who also expects to get going in soft conditions in the World Amateur Golf Ranking event with the rising International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI)-backed star slugging it out with local bets Kaathiyayani Gunasegar and Pang Hee Jie and Indonesia’s Natalia Yoko in the 7:50 a.m. group, also at the backside of the par-72 layout.
“I like the course layout, not easy with the wet and dewy conditions but knowing where to place and execute your tee shots and irons leave a great chance for an easier target angle to the pin and putt,” said Malixi.
“I just have to open doors for birdies to go low tomorrow (Thursday),” she added.
Malixi has had title cracks in the Thailand Amateur Open last October and the Women’s Asia-Pacific Championship and the ICTSI Villamor Match Play, both last month, but shaky putting stymied her bid to add more crowns to her growing trophy collection.
She, however, has had more success than setbacks, racking up six victories, including two on the American Junior Golf Association Tour while winning all her three stints on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.
The 15-year-old Malixi, who has added 5-10 yards to her distance off the mound, also won the Thai Junior World Championship.
Tipped to lead the charge are Koreans Hyo Jin Yang, Hyo Bong Lee and Singapore’s Aloysa Atienza, Inez Ng and Chen Xing Tong.
Meanwhile, Elee Bisera and Shinichi Suzuki vie in the men’s side of the World Amateur Golf Ranking event with the former clashing with Korean Minchul Kim, Indonesia’s Aldwin Kendarwan and Selangor’s Zia Bin Abdul Rashid at 8:30 a.m. on No. 1.
Suzuki, on the other hand, kicks off his bid at 9 a.m. with Sabah’s Zaeem Jafri, Poon Jia Hao of W. Persekutuan and Hazeem Yusoff from Kelantan DN, also on the first hole.