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Malixi—no thanks to jetlag—behind by 9 shots in Florida golf tilt first round

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RIANNE MALIXI wavered with a 78 trying to fight off jet lag and cold conditions as she fell nine strokes behind Vanessa Zhang of Canada after 18 holes of the Citrus Golf Trail Ladies Invitational at the Sun ‘N Lake course in Sebring, Florida, Tuesday.

Malixi shot just one birdie against five bogeys and a double bogey while seeking to feel her way around the tough course as she dropped to 40th in a field of 96 with a six-over card marred by a backside 41.

“She didn’t play well—jetlag, weather and non-familiarity (with the course) affected her game,” said Malixi’s father Roy. “She played while her body and mind clock were on sleep mode. I hope she would adjust and acclimatize in the second round.”

Holing out with a par on No. 5 to launch her campaign in the 72-hole championship in a shotgun start, Malixi missed a chip-in bid for birdie on the sixth, birdied the next and muffed a chance from six feet on No. 8 and another on the ninth.

She failed to get up and down on the 10th, hit the flag on her approach shot on the next for par and missed a long birdie try on No. 12. After a regulation par on the par-three 13th, the International Container Terminal Services Inc.-backed shotmaker dropped two strokes on the next and lost her rhythm and touch the rest of the way.

The recent Thai Junior World champion bogeyed Nos. 16 and 17 and yielded more strokes on the first and third holes to fall way off Zhang, whose three-under card netted her a one-stroke lead over Angela Zhang of the US, who turned in a 70.

Malixi, out to improve on her No. 159 world ranking, had looked forward to a strong start coming off a run of impressive finishes the last three months, including three runner-up finishes and two third-place efforts in her last seven tournaments overseas.

But she failed to cash in on her early birdie feat and recover from a double-bogey mishap although she hopes to settle down in the second round and work her way back into contention.

Meanwhile, Malixi, winner of two American Junior Golf Association titles this year, will next see action in the Orlando International Amateur from January 4 to 6 at the Orange Country National and in the Annika Invitational fron January 15 to 17 at the Eagle Creek Golf Club, both in Florida.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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