Rianne Malixi birdied four of the last eight holes to salvage a 72 one under and fall within four shots of China’s Alice Zhao and Sophie Stevens of the United States at the start of the Annika Invitational in Orlando, Florida, last Sunday.
Faced with a three card after 10 holes, which included a double bogey at No. 4, Malixi birdied the 11th, 12th, 16th and 17th holes for her opening round total at the par-73 Eagle Creek Golf Club. to join nine others in 13th place.
The 13-year-old Zhao went off with a five-under-par 68 with no bogey, while Stevens shot six birdies against a bogey as they snatched a one-shot lead over Italy’s Francesca Fiorellini and the American trio of Vanessa Borovilos, Ashleen Kaur and Katie Li. who hit 69 in the second leg of this year’s American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) circuit.
Lauren Kim from Canada and Denisa Vodickova of the Czech Republic placed seventh at 70 years old.
The AJGA’s best were also put in contention early on with No. 1 Gianna Clemente, who became the second player in history to qualify in three consecutive Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour events last year, shooting a 71. to share ninth place with three others. .
Malixi, 15, whose campaign is backed by ICTSI, hopes to build on her strong result as she competes in the second of three rounds, where she hopes to gain ground on the leaders in a field that includes Canada’s Martina Yu and American Avery McCrery.
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