Fully motivated, Filipino golfers are hoping to dish out their best as the SEA Games golf competitions unwrap Friday at the Heron Lake Golf Course in Vinh Phuc, Vietnam.
Their missions are to keep both the women’s crowns, including the individual title, and getting a crack at the men’s gold against their regional counterparts in the next three days.
“We believe all are motivated intrinsically by being their best versions. This in itself is the challenge we have given them – to be better every day, in all aspects both on and off the course,” said Miko Alejandro, coach of the national women’s squad made up of Lois Kaye Go, Mafy Singson and young sensation Rianne Malixi.
They are hard-pressed to retain the crown won by now-pro Bianca Pagdanganan (individual), Go and Abby Arevalo (team) in the last SEAG wars at Luisita in 2019 but are upbeat of their chances to fulfill the promise with a well laid-out battle plan.
For one, Malixi is oozing with confidence, coming off a string of victories, including a couple of feats in the local pro circuit and one in the American Junior Golf Association.
The 15-year-old spearhead of Team ICTSI is thrilled more than anxious playing in what she considers as her biggest tournament thus far, all geared up to slug it out with the likes of Thais Narkitta Wongthaveelap, a three-time Thai LPGA Tour winner, Pimkwan Chukaew, a King Rama VII Cup titlist, and fellow 15-year-old Ella Galitsky for the coveted medal.
Alejandro is also pinning his hopes on his crack men’s team composed of Jet Hernandez, Jed Dy, Kristoffer Arevalo and Gab Manotoc, who are all primed-up for a face-off with the fancied Thai squad led by the celebrated Ratchanon Chantananuwat, who at 15 became the youngest winner on the Asian Tour when he topped the inaugural Asian Mixed Cup in Siam last month.
As hosts, Vietnam is out to spoil the highly anticipated PH-Thai gold medal duel, along with Malaysia and Singapore, but the perennial regional rivals are expected to take center stage just the same with their depth and talent in both sides of the 54-hole tournament.
“I’m ready for the tournament. I hope everyone will pray for the success not only for our team but for the entire delegation,” she added.
“I think this event is a little different from the typical tournaments we are used to because of the team aspect. But at the same time, it is also an added motivation to be playing for each other and the country. It’s one of the greatest honors to be representing the country and this drives us,” said Alejandro.