Rianne Malixi moved on the threshold of a first major junior championship and becoming the second Filipina to capture a USGA-sanctioned event when she racked up another pair of victories to advance to the finals of the US Girls’ Junior in Colorado Friday.
Malixi held off Farah O’Keefe stretch-run fightback in the morning quarterfinals, carving out a 1-up victory on the latter’s bogey on No. 18 of the Eisenhower Golf Club’s Blue course then dispatching Leigh Chien with a stifling four-hole romp from No. 5 that carried her from an early one-hole deficit to a decisive 4&2 triumph in the afternoon semis.
The 24th ranked ace will face third seed Kiara Romero in the marathon 36-hole final starting at 8:15 a.m. Saturday after the Californian fought back from one-hole down with three birdies in the last four to essay a 2-up win over last year’s losing finalist Gianna Clemente in their side of the semis battle.
Romero earlier dispatched Canada’s Lauren Kim, 3&1.
It will be a virtual all-Pinay finale as Romero’s mother Maricel hails from Quezon City while father Rick is an American.
“It means a lot,” said Malixi after booting out Chien to close in on a dream championship.
Malixi has nailed a number of titles abroad, including two on the AJGA (American Junior Golf Association), and back at home, spiked by a four pro-title romp on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour. She also has had cracks at some major junior titles, the last in the Royal Junior in Japan last April where a flawed drive on the final hole led to a triple-bogey and an excruciating loss.