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Malixi misses record mark, but routs field by 15 in ICTSI Midlands golf

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
Malixi misses record mark, but routs field by 15 in ICTSI Midlands golf
Rianne Malixi beams as she shows her twin trophies following a dominant performance in her first Ladies PGT appearance.

TAGAYTAY – Rianne Malixi marked her first Ladies Philippine Golf Tour foray with a victory in near record-breaking fashion, beating Harmie Constantino by a whopping 15 strokes on another 70 to annex the ICTSI Midlands Ladies Classic crown here Thursday.

Like in her second round two-under card that put her unassailably ahead by nine over Daniella Uy, Malixi laced her second 70 with an eagle although she missed setting a new winning margin with a double-bogey on No. 13.

Malixi was on course to breaking Princess Superal’s 16-stroke winning romp over Cyna Rodriguez at Highlands in 2018 after matching it with a running eagle-aided three-under card after 12 holes for a four-under overall total. But she double bogeyed the par-4 13th then birdied the 16th to finish with a 33-37.

Still, it was an imposing triumph for a 14-year-old making her first appearance on the country's premier ladies circuit, her 54-hole total of three-under 213 underscoring her dominant run in the P750,000 event where she had hoped to provide a stiff challenge to the pros but instead came out practically spared of any kind of tests.

For she proved a cut above the rest, controlling the pace despite a 73 start then pulling away over her nearest pursuer in the second round.

She could’ve scored high in the final round and would’ve still won by a mile but Malixi nevertheless played like she was the pursuer, putting up instead another under-par round that proved as an exception rather than the rule at the wind-raked Midlands layout.

“It’s a great experience. I’ve been able to compete with the great pros and I was able to manage myself great and I’m very happy with that,” said Malixi.

With a lead too big like the Midlands greens, Malixi showed no signs of slowing down, birdying the par-5 second hole then gunning down an eagle on No. 6. She tried to pound the course — and the record — at the back but got derailed that mishap on the 13th.

With Malixi clinching the overall championship and the low amateur trophy in runaway fashion, the pros slugged it out for runner-up honors and the top purse with Constantino pouncing on Uy’s backside fumble with birdies on Nos. 12 and 14 to salvage a 75 and a 228 total.

Constantino, who swept the two Eagle Ridge-Aoki legs, pocketed the top P116,250 prize and claimed the Order of Merit title in her rookie season with total earnings of P609,750 over eight legs.

“I played really well in the front nine although I missed a lot of greens,” said Malixi, while crediting her short game that enabled her to execute the shots the way she had wanted.

“Although I struggled in the back nine, I was able to maintain myself, to compose myself in a very good way,” said Malixi. who honed her skills and gained experience through a number of competitions abroad, including the US Girls Junior, the US Women’s Amateur, the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific, the PXG Women’s Match Play, a pro event, and the Se Ri Park Desert Junior, which she won.

Sunshine Baraquiel, who reigned at Highlands for her breakthrough win last month, also birdied the 16th to post a second straight 77 for joint third place at 230 with Marvi Monsalve, who carded a 76. Each received P75,000.

It was sorry windup for Uy, who birdied No. 6 to firm up her hold of second, only to tumble to solo fifth with four bogeys and two double bogeys, including on No. 13, for a 79 and 231 worth P60,000.

Laurea Duque, the low amateur at Eagle Ridge-Aoki last March, also hobbled with a 77 for sixth at 233 while Riviera-Couples leg winner Chanelle Avaricio hardly recovered from two 80s with a 79, limping to seventh place with a 239 total.

Apple Fudolin and Lovelyn Guioguio finished tied at eighth with 244s after an 80 and 81, respectively, in the season-ending tournament of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc, which assiduously put up the eight-leg circuit under the bubble setup despite two suspensions due to the surge of coronavirus cases last March and July.

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RIANNE MALIXI

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