Malixi falls short of US Women's Open elims bid

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
Malixi falls short of US Women's Open elims bid
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 hit a clutch birdie on No. 16 but muffed a four-foot par putt on the next and finished with a 69, missing joining the four-player playoff cast by one stroke in the US Women’s Open Qualifying at the Palatine Hills Golf Club in Chicago Thursday.

It was a heartbreaker of a windup for the 16-year-old Filipina ace, who worked her way back into contention in afternoon play of the 36-hole, one-day elims after a 72 with a four-birdie effort in a 12-hole stretch from No. 5 for a running four-under overall total, spiked by a brilliant approach on the 16th for a tap-in feat.

But she missed the par-3 17th after losing grip of the club at impact but putted from just outside the green to within four feet, which she, however, flubbed.

Needing to close out with a birdie to earn at least a chance for a playoff, she reached the closing par-4 hole in regulation but left with a long putt for birdie which she missed.

Counting her even-par round in morning play, the ICTSI-backed shotmaker totaled a 141 and missed forcing a five-way tie for No. 1.

Milagros Chaves of Paraguay carded a 71 in the afternoon, local bet Mackenzie Hahn rallied with a 67, Elizabeth Szokol of Florida shot an eagle-aided 69 and Lynn Lim of Tennessee also turned in a 71 as they matched 140s.

But Chaves and Hahn beat Szokol and Lim in sudden death to clinch the two slots for the US Women’s Open slated July 9-12 at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California.

Malixi posted a two-birdie, two-bogey round in the first 18 holes marred by a number of missed birdie chances but after a birdie-bogey stint on Nos. 3 and 4 in the afternoon, she started to put it all together.

She rolled in a bending putt from five feet for birdie on No. 5, scored back-to-back feats linking the nines inside 14 feet then snapped a five-par run with another birdie on the 16th.

Epson Tour campaigner Pauline del Rosario blew a one-under card after 13 holes from the back as she bogeyed the next three holes and holed out with a double bogey for a 76 in the first 18 holes.

She bounced back from a bogey on No. 2 in the afternoon with birdies on Nos. 3 and 6 but went on a roller-coaster ride of two birdies against three birdies for a 72 and a 148 for a share of 24th.

Sunshine Baraquiel, on the other hand, hardly recovered from a 79 in morning play with a 73 as she tied for 34th at 152.

That left Dottie Ardina as the lone Filipina entry in the US Women’s Open, which ICTSI stablemate Yuka Saso ruled in 2021 via sudden death over Japanese Nasa Hataoka in San Francisco.

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