RIANNE MALIXI hopes to make the most of her first foray in a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour event thrilled but determined to come out of the Mizuho Americas Open stronger and better.
The $2.75 million event, one of the biggest in the sport outside of the major championships, unfolds Thursday at the Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey with the world’s leading players, led by this year’s two-time winners and current world No. 1 Jin Young Ko of Korea and No. 4 Lilia Vu of the US, bannering the field.
“Playing an LPGA event alongside the top pros would be a great opportunity for me to learn and gain experience,” said the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI)-backed Malixi, one of the invited players from the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) to the 12th leg of this year’s LPGA Tour.
The Americas Open will provide an opportunity for 24 of the top AJGA players to compete alongside the 120-player LPGA field for their own individual title.
Play will be under the Stableford scoring format.
This marks the first time the LPGA and the AJGA have partnered to showcase the current stars competing with the future of the sport, paving the way for an unprecedented week of learning and access to inspire the next generation of LPGA Tour players.
They get to pit talent and skills with the world’s best in the last two rounds.
This year’s LPGA’s two-time winners and current world No. 1 Jin Young Ko of Korea and No. 4 Lilia Vu of the US, headlines the field that includes world No. 3 Lydia Ko of New Zealand and fellow major champions Brooke Henderson of Canada, Aussie Minjee Lee, 2021 US Women’s Open titlist Yuka Saso and former world No. 1 Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand.
The ICTSI-backed Malixi, a two-time AJGA winner who has won several titles on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, is coming off an impressive performance in a pro event, the Beaumont Emergency Hospital Open of the Women’s All Pro Tour, in Texas last week. In fact, she turned in the best final round score – 66 – to finish solo third in the 72-hole championship.
Current at No. 2 behind Gianna Clemente in the AJGA rankings, Malixi hopes to ride on that momentum when she launches her campaign in the world’s premier circuit, which also serves as part of her buildup for the US Women’s Open elims on June 7 in Chicago.
The 16-year-old rising star is also set to compete in the British Women’s Amateur from June 13 to 18 in England.
Meanwhile, former amateur hotshot Rose Zhang of the US will also make her keenly awaited pro debut in the Americas Open. The 20-year-old will abandon her record 141 weeks as the world’s top-ranked amateur.