HANGZHOU—Rianne Malixi had a pitch-in eagle to highlight a second round 70 but the young Filipina hopeful fell off the medal race in the face of her rivals’ blistering charge halfway through the women’s individual golf competitions in the 19th Asian Games Friday.
Malixi broke a birdie-bogey stint in a backside start at the West Lake International Golf Course she tamed with a bogey-free 68 in the first round with an eagle-2 on No. 5 but dropped a shot on the next before holing out with a birdie to save a 34-36.
But her six-under 138 total dropped her two spots to solo ninth, now six strokes behind Thai Arpichaya Yubol, who took charge with a flawless 65 for a 132 and a one-stroke lead over world No. 2 Ruoning Yin of China, who fired a 66 after a 67, and India’s Aditi Ashok, who also carded a six-under card laced with an eagle-2, also on the fifth hole.
First round leader Saki Baba of Japan struggled with a 72 after a 65 and slipped to joint seventh at 137 heading to the last 36 holes of the tournament fast shaping up to be an anybody’s race.
China’s Xiyu Lin and Yu Liu took the third and fourth spots with 134 and 135 after 67 and 68, respectively, while Patcharajutar Kongkraphan, also from Thailand, charged back with a 67 to move to sixth at 136.
But Yubol looked poised to sustain her assault and upstage the fancied bets as the 2019 International Container Terminal Services Inc. Manila Ladies Masters winner at Manila Golf Club produced a sterling 33-32 round that gave her the confidence and the needed momentum in what looms to be a tight, wild ending.
Lois Kaye Go, meanwhile, groped for a 76 after a 72 for a 148 as she missed the cut in individual play.
Malixi, whose local and overseas campaign is backed by ICTSI, had hoped to match or surpass her first-round exploits but missed a couple of birdie opportunities in the early going at the back before gaining a stroke on No. 15.
But the 16-year-old ace bogeyed the par-5 17th and made another run of five pars before coming through with that eagle feat. But a miscue on No. 6 stalled her late charge although she birdied the ninth to gain some measure of confidence heading to the pivotal round.
The Philippines likewise dropped two rungs to No. 9 in team competitions with a two-day haul of 286 after a 146, 19 strokes behind China, which grabbed the solo lead at 267 after a 133 with Thailand making its move with the day’s best 132 to seize solo second at 268.
In men’s play, Clyde Mondilla likewise slowed down with his version of a two-under card after a solid 65 Thursday as he dropped to joint 13th from ninth with a nine-under 135, 13 strokes adrift of Hong Kong’s Taichi Kho, who stormed ahead with sizzling 12-under 60 for a 22-under 122 and a huge six-shot lead over erstwhile frontrunner Korean Yubin Jang, who shot a 67 after a 61 for a 138.
Amateur Carl Corpus rallied with a 68 after a 71 to gain nine spots to tied 29th with a 139 while Ira Alido shot a 70 after a 72 for a 142 at joint 38th.
Aidric Chan, who matched Corpus’ opening one-under card, made a 73 for a 144 and missed the cut in individual competition.
The men’s team also pooled a second round 208 after a 207 for a 17-under 415 aggregate as it stayed at ninth, 27 shots behind Korea, which threatened to pull away with a 44-under 388 after a 198, six strokes clear of Hong Kong, which pooled a 394 after a 194.