Young but seasoned Malixi triumphs in Thunderbird AJGA | Inquirer Sports
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THREE-HOLE SUDDEN DEATH

Young but seasoned Malixi triumphs in Thunderbird AJGA

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 04:20 AM April 12, 2022
Rianne Malixi displays the championship banner after winning the Thunderbird Junior All-Star in a three-hole playoff. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Rianne Malixi displays the championship banner after winning the Thunderbird Junior All-Star in a three-hole playoff. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

As seasoned as a junior amateur can be, Rianne Malixi of the Philippines on Sunday calmly drained a three-footer for par on the third playoff hole to win the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Thunderbird Junior All-Star title over Scarlett Schremmer at the Papago layout in Phoenix, Arizona.

Not a stranger to closing out tournaments—including against professionals back home—Malixi returned a final round two-under-par 70 to catch Schremmer and three-round leader Nikki Oh at the top at 207 before pouncing at the right time and then watching Schremmer miss a shorter putt to extend sudden death.

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It was the second AJGA win for the 15-year-old Malixi, who missed winning it in regulation after three-putting the 54th green.

“I didn’t know I was leading going to the last hole,” Malixi said. “I slipped my first putt three feet by and failed to save [par].”

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The event drew 15 of the top juniors in the world to play in a showcase tournament that would open up college scholarships in the United States.

Schremmer returned a 69 and Oh, who started the day with a one-shot lead, fired a 71 and dropped out of the playoff after the first hole with a bogey.

“It’s a great warmup for me for next week’s AJGA event,” said Malixi, the Team PH spearhead next month in the Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam. She already has two wins in the local Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, the latest against the celebrated Princess Superal three weeks ago at Luisita.

Malixi and Schremmer both birdied the 11th, the second playoff hole, before missing the 12th green. The Filipino pitched to within three feet and the American a bit closer only for Malixi to make her putt and wrap it up.

Malixi’s first AJGA win came in wire-to-wire style in the Se Ri Pak Desert Junior last year. She is not listed as one of the players to beat in the Ping Heather Farr Classic unfolding on Thursday at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, also in Arizona. INQ

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TAGS: American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Thunderbird Junior All-Star, Golf, Rianne Malixi
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