RIANNE Malixi bogeyed two of the last five holes at the front and hobbled with a 73, virtually bowing out of title contention after two rounds of the Women’s Orlando International Amateur, which produced a new leader in American Megan Schofill at the Orange Country National Golf Center and Lodge in Florida Thursday.
While mishits marred her frontside windup, putting woes continued to hound the young Filipina shotmaker, who blew a one-under card after 11 holes with bogeys on Nos. 5 and 9 of the Panther course, her 37-36 round keeping her at tied 20th at 144 that included a first round 71.
But from five shots down Wednesday, Malixi heads to the final 18 holes needing to overhaul a huge 10-stroke deficit as Schofill scorched the par-72 layout with eight birdies against a bogey for a 65.
Counting her first round 69, the American pooled a 10-under 134 and grabbed a one-shot lead over erstwhile leader Virginie Ding of Hong Kong, who slowed down with a 69 after a 66 for joint second at 135 with American Ami Gianchandani, who carded a 68.
Malixi, whose campaign is backed by ICTSI, had hoped for a better showing at Panther after saving a 71 at Crooked Cat. But after sinking a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 11, she missed makeable chances in the next three, including a six-footer on the par-5 No. 14.
She also muffed a par-putt bid from eight feet after missing the par-3 15th and blew cracks at birdies inside six feet in the next three. She finally gunned down a birdie on No. 2 but hit an errant approach shot on No. 5 that led to another bogey and after another couple of failed birdie bids, she yielded another stroke on the last hole.
Despite her mediocre showing, Malixi safely advanced to the final round and remained hopeful of a big comeback in an attempt to improve on her ranking and build some kind of momentum for the Annika Invitational slated Jan. 15-17 at the Eagle Creek Golf Club, also in Orlando.