Malixi targets Top 5 finish, shoots 70

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
Malixi targets Top 5 finish, shoots 70
Rianne Malixi of The Philipines plays her tee shot on the 12th hole during the first round of the Augusta National Women's Amateur at the Champions Retreat Golf Course on April 03, 2024 in Evans, Georgia.
David Cannon / Getty Images via AFP

MANILA, Philippines -- Rianne Malixi continued to demonstrate her potential and determination, finishing strong with three birdies to card a 70 and earn a share of seventh place after three rounds in the Korea Women’s Open Golf Championship Saturday.

Despite trailing leader Ro Seunghui by seven strokes with a 54-hole total of 211, the young Filipina positioned herself well for a potential Top 5 finish in South Korea’s premier women’s golf event at the Rainbow Hills Golf Club in Seoul.

After an impressive 68 on Friday that lifted her to ninth place following an opening round of 73, Malixi encountered early difficulties in the pivotal round. She stumbled with two bogeys against a birdie at the frontside, contrasting with her bogey-free 32 the previous day.

However, the 17-year-old ICTSI-backed shotmaker displayed remarkable composure and maturity while competing against some of Korea’s top professionals and amateurs, including world No. 2 Minsol Kim.

Malixi's strong windup included taming the two par-5 holes (Nos. 10 and 16) and gaining a stroke on the par-4 12th. Her five-under overall score placed her in a tie for seventh with pros Yook Ina and Choi Kabin, who shot 70 and 71, respectively, in challenging conditions.

Seunghui, meanwhile, zeroed in on the crown, firing a 68 for a 204 and posting a commanding four-stroke lead over Bae Sohyun and Kim Suji, who matched 68s for 208s. Bang Shinsil and Kim Minbyeol tied at fourth at 209 after 69 and 70, respectively, while Kim Minju is in solo sixth at 206 after a third straight 70.

With Kim stumbling with a 75 for a 216, Malixi poised to clinch the low amateur honors with one round remaining. The championship serves as a crucial final tune-up before she embarks on a series of significant amateur tournaments in the US and Europe.

Malixi, who won the Australian Master of the Amateurs in January, recently tied for 24th in her debut international professional tournament at the Suntory Ladies Open, part of the LPGA of Japan Tour.

Her upcoming schedule includes the Women’s Amateur in Ireland on June 24-29, the US Girls’ Junior in Tarzana, California on July 15-20, the European Ladies Amateur in Finland and July 24-27, and the US Women’s Amateur in Oklahoma on August 5-12.

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