TWO Filipina rising stars Eagle Ace Superal and Rianne Malixi primed up for this week’s Junior World by ruling their respective age groups in the 12th FCG (Future Champions Golf) International Championship at the Singing Hills Golf in El Cajon, California.
Superal pulled through in a pressure-packed finish, hitting a clutch birdie on the par-5 No. 7 for a huge three-shot swing to salvage an even-par 71 and foil Chinese-Taipei’s Chun-Wei Wu by three in the girls’ 13-14 division with a 141 total.
Wu, who double-bogeyed the seventh, ended up with a 74 for a 144.
Malixi earlier completed a wire-to-wire triumph in 11-12 play as the reigning Philippine Amateur Open overall champion fired a 69 and 71 for a 140, beating US-based Thai Natrada Pongsasin (70-74) and Arianna Lau (71-73) of Hong Kong by four.
Wu matched Superal’s opening 70 and the duo, teeing off at the backside of the par-71 Willow Glen, remained tied with eight holes left in the 36-hole championship before the Taiwanese pounced on The Country Club mainstay's bogey on No. 2 to take command.
But after both traded bogeys on No. 5, Superal birdied the par-3 No. 6 from six feet and surged ahead as Wu three-putted for bogey.
Gaining control and momentum, the younger sister of former US Girls’ Junior champion Princess hacked a solid drive on the next hole to set up an easy birdie then watched her rival succumb to pressure and holed out with a 7.
“Ace took a gamble on No. 7, crossing the lake off the mound that left her with 180 yards to the green and made the birdie. It was a bold move but she did it and earned a three-stroke lead,” said Team TCC coach Nestor Mendoza.
Not even a three-putt bogey on the 17th could dampen Superal, who hit a perfect drive on No. 18 and set up an easy par to wrap up her first major junior crown which Princess also won back in 2010.
Superal and Malixi’s victories should augur well for their campaign in the Junior World, which gathers the world’s leading and rising age-groupers, beginning Tuesday.
Vito Sarines, meanwhile, fell short by one to Benjaming Dong in the boys’ 6-and-under division as the Las Piñas City bet pooled a 133 on 65 and 68, as against the Chinese bet’s 67-65 for a 132.