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Saso pads lead to 4

SAN DIEGO California – Yuka Saso completed another solid round with back-to-back birdies for a three-under-par 69 and a four-shot lead in the 15-18 years division even as Rianne Malixi moved with a shot of the girls 9-10 years leader in the second round of the IMG Academy Junior World Golf Championships Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) here.

Malixi put herself in contention with a four-under-par 68 at Sycuan Oak Glen, gunning down birdies on four of her first five holes. With a 142 total, the 10-year-old Malixi will challenge Canada’s Michelle Liu, who shot a 69-141, for the crown in the final round.

Unlike Malixi, the 16-year-old Saso will have two more days to work on a Junior World title that seemed in the bag when the Fil-Japanese held a four-stroke lead in the final round last year only to throw it away and eventually settled for third.