A quartet of rising golfing stars are poised to showcase their talent at the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific (WAAP) championship in Thailand next week.
Teenagers they may still be, but in terms of golfing experience Mamika Shinchi, Rianne Mikhaela Malixi, Avani Prashanth and Eunseo Choi are veritable veterans.
Among the pre-tournament favourites at the sixth edition of the WAAP, Japan’s Shinchi, Malixi of the Philippines, Indian Prashanth and New Zealand’s Choi are all destined for successful careers in golf.
Over the Waterside Course at Siam Country Club (SCC) in Pattaya, Thailand from 1-4 February, the talented quartet all boast the credentials to add their name to the roll of hour in the region’s premier amateur championship.
Given the wealth of experience they’ve already amassed, 16-year-olds Shinchi and Malixi and 17-year-olds Prashanth and Choi will not be phased by the weight of expectancy on their shoulders.
All were early starters in golf – Prashanth picked up a golf club for the first time two months before she turned four, while Shinchi was introduced to the game when she was seven, and Malixi and Choi both discovered the thrill of striking a golf ball for the first time when they were eight.
Bright start to 2024
Other common denominators among the quartet are that they’ve made bright beginnings to 2024 and have bitter-sweet memories of their appearances at SCC when the WAAP was staged there in late 2022.
On that occasion, Malixi tied for third, Shinchi shared ninth place, Choi was joint 27th and Prashanth, suffering an untimely bout of food poisoning, missed the halfway cut.
Some 16 months on, all four have good reason to feel optimistic about improving on those results – and challenging for the most glittering prize in women’s amateur golf in the Asia-Pacific.
For Malixi and Shinchi, in particular, confidence will be sky high in the wake of impressive victories on Australian soil to kick-off their 2024 campaigns.
Pipped at the post in a handful of big events in 2023, Malixi made a dream start to the new year with a thrilling triumph in the Australian Master of the Amateurs.
Although she didn’t win a tournament in 2023, Malixi’s talent was clear for all to see with a succession of outstanding performances. After finishing third individually in the Queen Sirikit Cup at Manila Southwoods, Malixi also finished third at The Royal Junior in Japan before agonisingly missing out on an individual medal at the Southeast Asian Games where she finished fourth. Later in the year, she was runner-up in the US Girls’ Junior Championship.
Thanks to a closing four-under-par 69 at Southern Golf Club in the second week of January 2024, Malixi held her rivals at bay to claim the Green Jacket that is awarded to the Australian Master of the Amateurs champion.