Rianne Malixi birdied two of the last three holes to save a 71 but fell behind by four as Korean Hyo Song Lee fired a solid 69 to stay in firm control of the Malaysian Amateur Open at Palm Resort’s Cempaka course in Johor Bahru Saturday.
Malixi struggled coming off a day-best 68 Friday as she fumbled with three bogeys against two birdies after 10 holes while missing a couple of chances from short range. She needed to close out strong to salvage a 37-34 and remain in second on 4-under 212.
Lee turned in a game that kept her in command heading to the final 18 holes of the 118th staging of the event, spiking her second straight three-under card with solid iron shots that led to birdies on the last two par-3 holes — 15 and 17.
With a 208 aggregate, the reigning Korean Amateur Open champion doubled her overnight two-stroke lead over the ICTSI-backed Filipina ace, who will need to produce an explosive round to get a title shot at the World Amateur Ranking event.
Hyo Jin Yang, also of Korea, also turned in a 69 to move to solo third on 215 as Singapore’s Aloysa Atienza and Filipina Lois Kaye Go carded 72 and 73 for 217 and 218, respectively.
Go battled back from a double bogey on 1 with birdies on the next and 4. But she stumbled with two bogeys against a birdie at the back.
Mafy Singson, on the other hand, posted a third straight 77 for 17th place on 231.
Lee, Malixi, Atienza and Go all birdied the par-5 No. 4 but Malixi yielded the stroke on the next on a flubbed par-putt bid from four feet. She then missed a two-foot birdie putt on the seventh and made another bogey on 9 to fall behind by four as Lee made the turn at 35.
Malixi bounced back again with a birdie on 10 but mishit a chip shot on 11 that led to another bogey.
After four pars, she birdied 16, made a routine par on the next then dominated the closing par-5 hole for the second straight day.
Meanwhile, Elee Bisera shot another 74 for a 225, 14 strokes behind Seung Hyun Pi, who poised for a Korean sweep with a 211 after a second straight 70 as Sung Ho Lee, also from Korea, carded a 71 for second at 213.
Singapore’s Ryan Ang pooled a 215 for third after a 74 even as Shinichi Suzuki skied to an 80 to slip to 15th at 228.