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Malixi falters with 73, Mondilla regains form with 68


HANGZHOU, China — Rianne Malixi continued to lose grip of her game that took off in inspiring fashion as she faltered with her first over-par round in three days—a 73–that all but dashed her hopes for medal in women’s individual golf in the 19th Asian Games Saturday.

Malixi gunned down two birdies, including on the par-5 No. 8 coming in, but made three bogeys at the West Lake International Golf Course that continued to receive severe beating from a slew of aces, including India’s Aditi Ashok, who all but wrapped the gold medal with a huge seven-point lead over Thai Archipaya Yubol heading to the final 18 holes.

Ashok, a four-time winner on the Ladies European Tour, pounded the par-72 layout with a stunning bogey-free 11-under 61 for a 54-hole total of 22-under 194. She birdied five of first eight holes at the front and capped her fiery start with an eagle-2 on the ninth for a 29.

After two pars at the back, she knocked down another birdie on No. 12 and closed out with three birdies in the last four holes to virtually nail the coveted gold.

Yubol, the halfway leader, also hit an eagle on the par-5 17th and shot three birdies but fumbled with two bogeys as she turned in a 69 for a 201 while Chinese Xiyu Lin fired a 68 for third at 202.

Saki Baba, No. 3 in the world amateur ranking, also carded a four-under card but stood three strokes behind Lin in the battle for bronze with a 205 aggregate.

The ICTSI-backed Malixi was well within her medal target with a solid 68 start Thursday but slowed down with a 70 in the second round and dropped to joint ninth before slipping to 14th with a 211 total.

The PH, which swept the individual and team golds in the last Asiad in Jakarta in 2018, also bowed out in team play after Lois Kaye Go missed the halfway cut.

India, meanwhile, poised to duplicate the Filipinas feat as Pranavi Sharath put in a 70 for the team’s 131 and 403 total, just one stroke ahead of Thailand, which pooled a 404 after a 136, with China assembled a 139 for third at 406.

Later in the day, Clyde Mondilla regained his form and came away with a 68 to gain two spots in the men’s individual golf rankings at 11th but stayed too far behind for the bronze medal race with one round left in the 72-hole tournament.

The multi-titled Philippine Golf Tour campaigner and former Philippine Open champion totaled a 13-under 203 in three days, spiked by a flawless opening round of 65, as he joined three others at 11th, 11 strokes off Hong Kong’s Taichi Kho, who moved 18 holes away from bagging the gold with a 192 total.

Kho actually turned in a 70 after a fiery 60 halfway through but still kept a three-stroke lead at 192 over Chinese’Taipei’s Chien-Yao Hung, who produced a 67 for a 195 while Korean Yubin Jang assembled a 196 for third after a 68.

But three players stood at 197, including Korean world No. 27 Sungjae Im, who flourished with a 66, and Thai Atiruj Winaicharoenchai and Chinese Guxin Chen, who matched 67s, ensuring a spirited battle not only for the bronze but for silver as well.

Carl Corpus matched par 72 while Ira Alido shot a second straight 71 as they pooled 211 and 216 for joint 31st and solo 36th, respectively, among 40 players who survived the 36-hole cut.

The men’s team, meantime, stayed at ninth in a surviving field of 10, as it pooled a six-under 210 for a 22-under total of 626 going to the last 18 holes of the four-day championship.

It was way behind the astounding 58-under 590 total of solid Korea, which assembled a 14-under 202 aggregate in the day to virtually claim the team gold as Thailand moved up to second at 604, 14 strokes behind on a 203 total while erstwhile second-running Hong Kong settled for a 211 and slipped to third at 605, four shots clear of fourth-running Singapore, which scored a 609 after a 202, for the battle for bronze.

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