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Malixi, Go trail Korean by 3

Rianne Malixi and Lois Kaye Go hardly recovered from backside struggles and matched one-over 73s in soft conditions as they trailed Korean Hyo Song Lee by three at the start of the Malaysian Amateur Open at Palm Resort’s Cempaka course in Johor Bahru yesterday.

While Go groped for form early with three bogeys in the first five holes, Malixi dropped two strokes on the par-5 No. 18 after dumping her second shot into the hazard.

But the Filipina duo rebounded with one-under cards at the front to gain a share of second with Canada’s Lucy Lin and local bets Geraldine Wong Xiao Xuan from W. Persekutuan and Kedah D.A.’s Jocelyn Chee Yi Min.

Mafy Singson, however, failed to overcome a double-bogey mishap on the par-5 No. 11 and three bogeys that led to a 41 and a 77, dropping her to joint 17th, seven strokes off the Korean leader.

Lee, who bounced back strong from a double-bogey on No. 14 with four birdies, including three in a solid frontside 33, took command with a 70 for a three-stroke lead over five rivals.

Lee, the reigning Korean Amateur champion who tied for third with the ICTSI-backed Malixi in the Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific in Thailand last month, birdied No. 16 then dominated the last two par-5s at the front while gaining another stroke on the par-3 sixth to put herself on top of the women’s field.

Go birdied the 18th to check a three-bogey slide then got to level par with birdies on Nos. 1 and 4.

But the veteran Cebuana campaigner bogeyed the next two holes and needed to birdie the eighth to get back into the thick of things with a 35-38.

Malixi matched that output with birdies on Nos. 2 and 7 against a bogey on the fifth with the 15-year-old winner of the Thai Junior World crown last month and three other pro titles on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour vowing to rebound in the second round of the 72-hole championship.

Singson, who also won a pro crown back home, also has a lot of recovering to do after that disastrous backside start although she somewhat settled down with a one-birdie, one-bogey card in the last nine holes.

Shinichi Suzumi, meanwhile, gunned down two birdies but made five bogeys as he turned in a 75 for joint 11th with Singapore’s Irvyn Tan, six strokes adrift of Sarawak’s Anson Yeo Boon Xiang in the men’s side of the 118th of the event which drew 109 bidders from 11 countries from the Asia Pacific region.

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