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Last-hole miscue drops Malixi to joint second with 70

Rianne Malixi missed forcing a tie for the lead, closing out with a bogey on No. 18 for a three-under 70 as she dropped to joint second with three others, one shot behind Japanese Aina Fujimoto at the start of the Australian Amateur in Melbourne, Victoria on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

Rianne Malixi

Malixi birdied three of the first 10 holes to put herself in early contention at the par-73 Keysborough Golf Club, one of the two courses staging the host country’s national championship. She then matched Fujimoto’s 69 fashioned out in morning play with back-to-back birdies from No. 16 after a miscue on the 15th.

But she hobbled at the finish, yielding a stroke on the shortest of the five par-5s on the 446-yard No. 18 as she settled for a pair of 35s and a share of second with Japanese Mamika Shinchi and Aussies Jazy Roberts Amelia Harris in the 72-hole championship at the 6,314-yard course.

Still, it was another impressive start for the young Filipina star, who is coming off a come-from-behind victory in the Australian Master of the Amateurs Championship in Braeside, also in Melbourne, last week.

In pursuit of claiming both premier titles in Australia, the ICTSI-backed Malixi showcased her skill by birdying the par-5 second hole, gaining another stroke on the fifth and reaching three-under with another feat on No. 10.

A misstep on the 185-yard par-3 No. 15 momentarily slowed her charge but she rebounded with birdies on the next two holes, sharing the top spot with Fujimoto at four-under.

The Japanese took advantage of the favorable playing conditions, rattling off three birdies in the first five holes at the backside of Keysborough. She bogeyed the 15th but broke a run of pars with closing birdies on Nos. 8 and 9 to seize control of the 100-player women’s field with a 34-35 card.

Shinchi, No. 41 in the women’s amateur ranking, spiked her 36-34 round with an eagle on No. 18 while Roberts and Harris posted three-under cards at the tougher Yarra Yarra layout, also a par-73.

Roberts gunned down four birdies against a bogey while Harris sizzled with six birdies to negate a three-bogey mishap and positioning herself in early contention.

Looking ahead to the second round, Malixi, 16, aims to navigate the 6,324-yard Yarra Yarra course as the field transitions for Wednesday’s second round.

Amelia Whinney shot a 71, also at Keysborough, for solo sixth while India’s Avani Prashanth, who lost to Malixi last week, carded a 72 for a share of seventh with Justice Bosio, Sarah Hammett and Amy Squires.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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