RIANNE Malixi edged and Abby Arevalo in the playoff to win the National Stroke Play title on Friday at Riviera’s Langer course in Silang, Cavite.
The 12-year-old Malixi led by three but Arevalo rallied to force extra holes, finishing regulation at 287 after a 73 and 70, respectively.
Malixi needed three extra holes to finish off Arevalo on a par-bogey result.
They matched pars in the first two playoff holes on Nos. 1 and 18 but after the Malixi dumped her approach shot in the greenside bunker in their third trip to the par-4 opening hole in the day, the latter overshot the green and into deep roughs and missed a par-saving putt from eight feet.
In contrast, the 12-year-old Malixi kept her composure and blasted to within six feet and made the putt to snare the victory, becoming the youngest winner in what used to the Philippine Amateur Golf Championship, the kickoff leg of the PLDT Group National Amateur Tour.
“I’m speechless, but this is memorable win for me, having been able play with the SEA Games gold medalist and other top players and have fun with them,” said Malixi, referring to Arevalo, who formed part of the gold medal winning squad with individual gold medalist and Lois Kaye Go in the recent SEA Games at Luisita.
Arevalo, recalling the form that netted her a victory in the pro Ladies Phl Golf Tour here in 2017, overcame a three-stroke deficit right at the front with a 33 as Malixi fumbled with a 37. The San Jose State U product then took the first two holes at the back to go 3-up but yielded the 13th and Malixi tied it up on a birdie-bogey exchange on the next.
Arevalo dropped by one again with another bogey on No. 16 but parred the last then watched her rival muff her own par bid to force a playoff in the event sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation.
Bernice Ilas also charged back with a 70 to snatch third place at 300 while last year’s champion Go carded a 74 for fourth at 301 followed by Korea’s Kim Seo Yun (75-303), Junia Gabasa (78-306) and Nicole Abelar and Laurea Duque, who shared seventh place at 308 after 76 and 82, respectively.
Korea’s Min Wook Gwon won the men’s title, beating Japan’s Atsushi Ueda in a playoff.
Gwon limped with a 79 in regulation to finish at 295, while Uedafired a 72.
Aidric Chan carded a 72 to finish third at 297 while SEA Games bronze medal teammate Sean Ramos ended up fourth at 300 after a 74. Japan’s Kyosuke Yoshida placed fifth with a 72 for a 301.