Malixi wavers after eagle-spiked charge

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
Malixi wavers after eagle-spiked charge
Rianne Malixi of the Philippines lines up her shot on the ninth hole during the second round of the Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National Golf Club on June 2, 2023 in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Elsa / Getty Images / AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Rianne Malixi missed capping a big eagle-spiked backside rally with a bogey-bogey finish as she wrapped up a 75 worth 38 points that barely moved her to provisional joint 16th in the weather-suspended second round of the Mizuho Americans Open-AJGA Juniors in New Jersey Friday (Saturday, Manila time).

Malixi chipped in for eagle on No. 13, missed a long birdie try on the next, but drained a five-footer off a solid approach on the 15th as she charged back from a four-over card after 10 holes marred by two double bogeys. But she came off short from a fairway bunker on the 17th and failed to get up and down, then overshot the 18th, chipping way past the hole. She missed to return a long par-putt bid for another bogey at the Liberty National Golf Club course.

She improved from a 31-point output off a 77 in the first round with 34 Stableford points but gained just a couple of spots from a first round share of 18th even as Yana Wilson stayed in control after 36 holes of the juniors competition of the event held side-by-side with the centerpiece LPGA Tour.

Wilson, who took charge with 41 points from a bogey-free 67 Thursday, firmed up her hold of the lead with four birdies against a bogey at the back then shot another birdie on No. 4. She double bogeyed the fifth and parred the next three for clubhouse 36 points with one hole left for 77 points.

AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) No. 1 player Gianna Clemente finished her round with 38 points from a 70 as she moved to second with 72 points in a tie with Michelle Liu and Sara Im, who matched 72s for 35 and 36 points, respectively.

The ICTSI-backed Malixi birdied No. 4 to kick off her second round campaign but bogeyed the next and holed out with double bogeys that sandwiched her second birdie on No. 8 for a 15-point frontside output.

She bogeyed the 10th but came through with two superb shots to nearly reach the par-5 13th then chipped in for eagle worth 5 points then buried another putt for birdie from short range on No. 15 to spark an explosive finish for the 16-year-old two-time AJGA winner.

Meanwhile, Yuka Saso tottered with a 74 after a 69 and slipped from joint fifth to a share of 24th after 36 holes of the weather-delayed pro side of the $2.75 million championship now co-led by Minjee Lee and Cheyenne Knight.

Saso came away with three birdies but made three bogeys and a double bogey on No. 10 for a two-over card and a two-day total of 143, now six strokes behind Lee and Knight, who matched 137s outputs after a 64 and 68, respectively.

But Kiwi Lydia Ko moved right into the mix with a 138 after a second straight 69 while World No. 1 Jin Young Ko rallied with a 66 to stay in strong contention for a third LPGA win this year with a 139 for joint fourth with Canada’s Brooke Henderson (70), India’s Aditi Ashok (71), Thai Atthaya Thitikul (72) and rookie American Rose Zhang, who continued to impress with a 69.

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