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Malixi falters; Mondilla regains form


HANGZHOU, China — Rianne Malixi may have seen her gold medal aspirations vanish in thin smoke Saturday after submitting a 73 — her first over-par in three days of play — in the individual event of the 19th Asian Games.

As Malixi struggled to get a grip of her game, India’s Aditi Ashok, who erected a huge seven-stroke lead over Thai Archipaya Yubol going into the final 18 holes at the West Lake International Golf Course.

Malixi gunned down two birdies, including on the par-5 No. 8 coming in, but made three bogeys.

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 bag 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 rankings, 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 Philippines, 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.

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.

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