Rianne Malixi bucked tough conditions and carded a one-under 70 to gain a share of second, just a stroke off Wisconsin’s Emily Lauterbach at the start of the Women’s Western Amateur in Northfield, Illinois Tuesday.
Banking on her wedges and putting, the 15-year-old rising Filipina star birdied Nos. 2, 8 and 13 to negate her miscues on the par-5 seventh and on No. 11 for a 34-36 round at the challenging par-71 Sunset Ridge Country Club course which yielded just five under-par scores from the starting field of 119.
Her strong start didn’t only put the ICTSI-backed ace, coming off a victory in team play in the Wyndham Cup of the American Junior Golf Association last week, on track for a spot in the next phase but also a crack at medal honors in one of the oldest annual championships in amateur golf held without interruption since 1901.
The top 64 after the 36-hole stroke play will advance to the next round, a match play phase which fires off Thursday with two rounds with the surviving eight moving to the quarterfinals on Friday.
Lauterbach gunned down three birdies against a bogey to set the pace with a 69.
Nicole Abelar, however, failed to get going as she hobbled with a 77 for a share of 60th although she remained within the cutoff line.
A bogey on the first hole coupled with a double bogey on No. 3 hinted at the coming off a struggling day for the Univ. of Houston Cougars mainstay, who bogeyed Nos. 9 and 10, gained a stroke on No. 11 but stumbled with another double bogey on the 15th for a 39-38.
Over in the US Girls’ Junior at The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Sam Dizon bowed out of contention for the match play phase as she shot herself in the foot with an 80 on a harrowing backside slide.
Still inside the cutoff line at four-over despite a one-over frontside 38 for a running three-over total, Dizon bogeyed the 10th, dropped two shots on No. 12 and bogeyed three of the last six in a birdie-less 42.
Counting her first round 74, the Singapore-based shotmaker finished with a seven-over 155, and out of the knockout phase of the annual event won by Princess Superal in 2014 in Portland.