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Quickly, Malixi sets focus on Asiad

RIANNE Malixi gains plenty of crunchtime experience she can use for the Asian Games campaign. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PILIPINAS TOUR

Despite the stinging loss, Rianne Malixi is still thankful of her US Women’s Amateur Championship campaign which capped her North American swing.

The 16-year-old Filipino hotshot is expected to fly back home and focus her attention to the Asian Games preparation.

“I never realized that I am a clutch player until today. The USGA events I played was an eyeopener,” Malixi was quoted as saying. “I never really imagined that I was capable of doing things I did, so I think it gave me a mental booster in my game.”

At any rate, the Filipino is still expected to rise in her world rankings now presently pegged at 75th.

She ended up empty handed in her quest to capture a USGA trophy after bowing out Thursday in the US Women’s Amateur at the hands of American Bailey Shoemaker.

But not before giving Shoemaker a massive headache at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles, California.

Malixi clawed her way back from as many as three holes down, winning the last two holes to forge sudden death in their Round-of-32 defeat.

She won 17 as Shoemaker bogeyed and then made a birdie putt from 15 feet on 18 to force playoff.

But back on the par-5 No. 1 which Shoemaker earlier eagled to take command, the American holed out with a birdie to clinch the match as the 23rd-seeded Malixi’s third shot went past the hole, leading to a bogey.

Shoemaker went two-up as Malixi bogeyed No. 4 and restored the lead with a par on No. 8 after the ICTSI-backed shot-maker closed the gap with a birdie on the sixth.

Malixi, a 5 and 3 winner over Ellie Koo in the first round, actually fell by as many as three holes after a bogey on No. 12. But a birdie on the par-3 13th put her back into the match.

After trading pars in the next three holes, she pounced on Shoemaker’s mishap on the penultimate hole and rolled in a pressure-packed putt on the 18th that swerved to left at the finish and dropped to force an all-square match.

Malixi competed in several tournaments stateside including the US Juniors in Colorado where she finished second.

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