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Malixi crumbles at the finish, drops semis bid vs Lee in Polo Golf Junior Classic

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
Malixi crumbles at the finish, drops semis bid vs Lee in Polo Golf Junior Classic
Rianne Malixi

MANILA, Philippines — Rianne Malixi blew an early 2-hole lead then cracked at the finish, yielding a 2&1 decision to Elise Lee in their quarterfinal clash in the Polo Golf Junior Classic Match Play at the Bethpage State Park Golf’s Black course in Farmingdale, New York Thursday (Friday, Manila time).

Bracing for a pressure-packed finish after Lee forced an all-square match with a birdie on the 10th, Malixi stumbled with a bogey on the par-5 13th, which Lee parred, and fell two holes down with a bogey on No. 15, which the Irvine, California bet parred.

Lee preserved her lead and notched the victory by matching the ICTSI-backed shotmaker’s pars in the next two holes.

It was a sorry setback for the 15-year-old two-time American Junior Golf Association winner, who blasted erstwhile unbeaten Alexandra Gazzoli, 3&2, in the final day of pool play Wednesday to advance to the quarters.

She quickly went 1-up with a par on No. 2 then gained another hole with another routine par on the fifth as Lee struggled to find her touch and rhythm after topping her side of the eliminations via playoff over Lynn Lim.

But Lee cashed in on Malixi’s double bogey on the par-4 No. 6 then after both traded pars in the next three, hit a birdie on Hole 10 to draw level then broke out of a par-par duel with another par on No. 13 to take command.

Pressed to bounce back, Malixi failed to deliver, enabling Lee to advance, only to drop a lopsided 8&6 defeat to Alice Zhao, also from California, in the afternoon semis.

Canadian Vanessa Borovilos, meanwhile, held off Katie Lee of New Jersey, 2&1, in the quarters then subdued another Californian, Jasmine Koo, 3&2, to seal a title showdown with Zhao.

GOLF

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