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Ranking surge boosts Malixi's Augusta debut

MANILA, Philippines – Rianne Malixi’s much-anticipated debut in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur unfolding Wednesday, April 3, in Augusta, Georgia has received a significant boost, propelling her to a career-high No. 26 in the latest World Amateur Golf Ranking.

This surge comes on the heels of her impressive runner-up finish in the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley in California, marking a notable ascent from her previous standing at No. 37 after the Singapore Women’s Open, a pro tournament, for a huge 11-spot jump.

At Sage Valley, she accumulated 15.28 points, enhancing her overall score to 1008.82 points across 33 counting events.

This performance not only elevated her ranking but also provided Malixi with invaluable momentum as she approaches the Champions Retreat Golf Club, the only golf course designed by the legendary trio of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.

Champions Retreat, known for its challenging putting greens reminiscent of those in California, will host the first two rounds of the prestigious 54-hole championship with the Top 30 and ties from the starting field of 72 advancing to the final round at Augusta National.

“Sage has some tricky greens as well, so it was a good preparation for this week’s event,” said Malixi.

Boosted by her recent climb in the world rankings, Malixi, whose campaign is sponsored by ICTSI, is set to embark on her journey alongside Americans Latanna Stone and Laney Frye, ranked Nos. 30 and 58, respectively, in the world.

They tee off at 9:44 a.m. on No. 10.

Malixi’s focus is on adapting on the course’s narrow fairways and the deceptive greens, aiming to secure her position for the concluding 18 holes at Augusta National, the home of the US Masters.

The practice round at Champions Retreat will be crucial for Malixi to adjust her strategy and fine-tune her approach, especially given the course’s diverse challenges. With tight fairways on the front nine and complex greens on the back, she is gearing up for a comprehensive preparation to tackle the challenges effectively.

“The first nine has tight fairways, while the second nine has very tricky and undulating greens. So I have to prepare my mindset (Tuesday)