Howling winds hamper Malixi bid in England


RIANNE MALIXI came in ruffled by the howling winds while tackling a links course in The Women’s Amateur and ended up with a seven-over 79 for 11 strokes off joint leaders Norweigian Silje Torvund Ohma and Christin Eisenbeiss of Germany at the Prince’s Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent, in southeast England Tuesday.

But while she tumbled to joint 100th in a starting field of 144 reduced to 142 following the withdrawal of one and disqualification of the other, Malixi remained in the hunt for a spot in the Top 64 as she lay just three shots off the current target score heading to the last 18 holes of the two-day stroke play eliminations.

And given her talent and skills set, the International Container Terminal Services Inc.-backed shotmaker expects to get back to business although it will require some adjustments, starting with her long game that often found the tall grasses of Prince’s, approach shots that sometimes miss their targets, and putting that led to a three-putt miscue on No. 3, at least three missed par-save bids inside eight feet, and seven flubbed birdie chances.

She, however, pulled off a couple of up-and-down pars on her way to a 38-41 round marred by bogeys on Nos. 1, 3, 7, 10 and 17 and double bogeys on Nos. 13 and 18, which she both reached in 4.

There were quite a few, however, who survived the ordeal on a course characterized by uneven fairways, deep roughs and small, deep bunkers and made more exacting by the howling winds that affect the style of each player’s play.

Ohma, for one, tamed the frontside with a solid five-under 31 and was on her way to taking solo control with two more birdies on Nos. 12 and 15 against a bogey on the 13th until she lost her rhythm and poise and bogeyed Nos. 16 and 17 for a 68.

That enabled Eisenbeiss to gain a share of the lead as she came through with a three birdie-binge in a four-hole stretch from No. 12 en route to a bogey-free 35-33 and a one-stroke lead over Aussie Beth Coulter and three others, who matched 69s.

World No. 1 Ingrid Lindblad of Swede also groped for form with a 73 for a share of 19th, well within the Top 64, who will move to the knockout, match play phase Thursday.

Malixi, 16, hopes to make the most of the switch in tee-times as she resumes her bid at 7:51 a.m. with Japanese Sera Hasegawa and Swede Kajsa Arwefjall, who opened with 73 and 75, respectively.

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