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Malixi blows title bid in Arizona tiff with shaky frontside

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
Malixi blows title bid in Arizona tiff with shaky frontside
Rianne Malixi

MANILA, Philippines — Rianne Malixi wavered in a frontside finish and hobbled with a three-over 74 to all but dash her hopes for another AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) crown in the Albane Valenzuela Girls Invitational at the Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Arizona Saturday (Sunday, Manila time).

Jaclyn LaHa used a solid backside start to turn in a 67 in tough conditions at the par-71 layout and pulled away by four strokes over Frances Kim with a 133 aggregate heading to the final round of the 54-hole tournament. 

Kim sizzled with an eagle-spiked 64 to rally from way back after a 73 to solo second at 137 while Emerson Blair fired a 68 for third at 139.

Malixi trailed by just one shot after a superb opening 67 anchored on a scorching four-birdie binge in the last five holes at the front Friday (Saturday in Manila). 

But after a birdie on No. 15 to kick off her second round charge, the young ICTSI-backed star stumbled with back-to-back bogeys from No. 17.

She birdied the first two holes at the front to go one-under in the day and five-under overall but lost her touch and rhythm and double bogeyed the fourth and failed to check her skid, yielding strokes on Nos. 6 and 7.

Those pair of 37s and a 141 thus pulled her down to joint fourth, now eight shots behind LaHa although the recent Thunderbird All Star winner is expected to pour it all out in the last 18 holes in an attempt to improve on her ranking.

Over in Florida, Abby Arevalo fought back with a one-under 72 but lay too far behind American Gina Kim after two rounds of the Inova Mission Inn Resort and Club Championship at the Howey-In-The-Hills Saturday.

Arevalo, who with ICTSI teammate Pauline del Rosario struggled with 74 at the par-73 Mission Inn Resort and Club course Friday, shot three birdies against two bogeys as she moved to joint 31st with a 146 aggregate, 11 strokes behind Kim, who endured two separate weather delays to card a 69 and a 135.

Kim posted a two-stroke lead over Mexican Maria Fassi, who rallied with a 66 for a 137, while Amy Lee, also of the US, also stayed in the hunt at 138 after a second 69 heading to the last 18 holes of the $200,000 championship of the Epson Tour.

Del Rosario also made the cut but could only put in a wild even par 73 for a 147 and a share of 44th.

The power-hitting del Rosario gunned down an eagle and fired three birdies against two bogeys but holed out with a triple-bogey on the par-4 18th for a 36-37.

Fil-Am Clariss Guce, however, failed to advance with a 74 and a 151, three strokes below the cut.

GOLF

RIANNE MALIXI

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