Malixi hits target in match play against Flynn in Colorado


Rianne Malixi trampled Ryan Flynn with remarkable consistency, cruising to a 4&3 victory in a rousing start in the match play phase of the US Girls’ Junior at the Eisenhower Golf Club’s Blue course in Colorado Springs, Colorado Wednesday.

Malixi was practically on target from tee-to-green all throughout while coming up with a scrambling par No. 4 and matching Flynn’s birdies on Nos. 3 and 11 to stay in command. She capped her emphatic triumph with another birdie on No. 15 that she actually didn’t need as the Californian holed out with a bogey just before the 122-minute weather delay that stalled 19 other first round matches.

“The key was consistency,” said the International Container Terminal Services Inc.-backed Malixi, who finished at No. 24 in the 36-hole stroke play elimnations. “I was able to hit shots where I exactly wanted to place them and made putts that mattered.”

She will need a lot more shots to execute and putts to drop as she faces No. 9 Kaitlyn Schroeder from Florida in one of the Round-of-32 matches Thursday morning with the surviving 16 players to head to the Round-of-16 duels in the afternoon.

“I know Kaitlyn, we played together a couple of times in the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) and the Professional Golfers Association Juniors. It will be a great match tomorrow,” said the 16-year-old Malixi, a two-time AJGA winner.

After winning the opening hole, Malixi drained a six-footer for birdie on an undulating line to halve No. 3, salvaged a par on the next then bucked back-to-back missed chances from No. 5 with another birdie from six feet on the par-3 seventh to go 2-up.

They traded pars in the next five and Malixi, a multi-titled campaigner on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, unleashed another solid tee-shot on No. 13, also a par-3, then wrapped it all up with a four-hole bulge with another birdie on the 15th.

Malixi lost to eventual champion and now LPGA Tour campaigner Rose Zhang in the Round-of-32 in 2021 and skipped the 2022 edition of the event ruled by Princess Superal in Arizona in 2014 to compete in the Women’s Western Amateur in Illinois where she reached the semis.

Meanwhile, the Top 10 bets all advanced to the second round of the knockout stage with low medalist and defending champion Yana Wilson of the US fashioning out a 5&4 romp over Korean Ashley Kim, No. 2 Anna Davis, also of the US, crushing Thai Thanana Kotchasanmanee, 4&2, third seed Kiara Romero holding off fellow American Claire Wan, 2&1, No. 4 Kaili Xiao of China edging Canada’s Swetha Sathish, 1-up, and fifth-ranked Tarapath Panya of Thailand hacking out a similar 1-up decision over Rulhan Wang, also of Canada.

Canadian No. 6 Anna Huang also escaped past Reese McCauley of the US, 1-up, American No. 7 Emerie Schartz trounced Veronika Exposito, 5&4, No. 8 Sara Im, also of the US, subdued Leia Chung, 1-up, and No. 10 Clarisa Temelo of Mexico repulsed Chinese Yujie Liu, 2&1.

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