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Malixi fights back with 2nd-rd 69, jumps from 33 down to joint 7th

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RIANNE MALIXI fought back from a disastrous 78 start and with four birdies against a lone bogey carded a 69 to jump from 40th to joint seventh midway through the Citrus Golf Trail Ladies Invitational still paced by Vanessa Zhang in Sebring, Florida, Wednesday.

Although Malixi still blew a number of birdie chances, including four in a five-hole stretch from No, 5 inside seven feet, she drained two long putts—highlighted by a 20-footer on No. 15 where she teed off and a monster stroke from way out after overshooting the par-3 second hole of the Sun ‘N Lake layout.

“I’ve pretty much adjusted today. I hit more fairways and greens, then converted some putts,” Malixi said. “I also left some putts out there, but so far I have been stroking it well.”

The International Container Terminal Services Inc.-backed Malixi nearly chipped in for eagle on the par-four No. 5 and banged in a seven-footer for her fourth birdie on No. 13 to negate her lone miscue on No. 3 on a missed six-footer bid for par.

While Malixi found her range and touch, Vanessa Zhang lost hers as she stumbled with a 73 after a fiery 69 although the Canadian stayed in control at 142, still two strokes clear of Ffion Tynan of Arkansas, who fought back with a 70, and American Angela Zhang, who also fumbled with a 74.

Malixi, who has posted a win, three runner-up finishes and two third-place efforts in her last seven tournaments overseas, remained five strokes behind at 147 but her big second round fightback should boost her confidence heading to the last 36 holes of the championship.

After holing out from long range on No. 15, Malixi nearly rolled in another birdie putt from the fringe on the next, missed another chance on the 18th and left her six-foot birdie putt on the first hole short.

She hit it long on the par-3 No. 2 but banged it in from edge-to-edge, only to yield the stroke on the next. She, however, cashed in on the par-5 fourth for a tap-in birdie and could’ve closed in on the two-day leader if not for her missed putts on Nos. 5, 7, 8 and 9.

Malixi also nearly holed it in from the fringe on No. 10, settled for regulation par on the next two before picking up another stroke on No. 13 from seven feet before closing her round with another regulation par.

Other 147 scorers were Grace Lu, Sofia Essakali and Thanana Kotchasanmanee, who carded 72, 73 nad 74, respectively.

Malixi, winner of two American Junior Golf Association titles this year, will next play in the Orlando International Amateur from January 4 to 6 at the Orange Country National and will face some of the world’s leading players in the ranks in the Annika Invitational from January 15 to 17 at the Eagle Creek Golf Club, both in Florida.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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