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Malixi fights back with 69; Gabasa cards 71

(UPDATED 2:24 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines – Rianne Malixi finally put in the kind of round sorely missing in the first two days of the Espirito Santo Trophy, coming away with a three-under 69 in a rebound that however came in a little bit late for one of the country’s leading players in the ranks.

Counting a 71 from the steady Junia Gabasa, the Philippines bounced back with a four-under 140 after a 146 and, counting their opening 143, the Filipinas assembled a three-under 429 aggregate at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club to move up one spot to No. 16 in team competition of the World Amateur Team Championship in United Arab Emirates.

Korea and Spain tied for the lead at 17-under 415 after 138 and 140, respectively, with Thailand slipping to third at 416 after a 141 and Chinese Taipei putting in the day’s best 135 to grab the fourth spot with 418.

Australia and England took the next two spots with 419 and 420 after 144 and 139, respectively.

Gabasa, who sizzled with a 69 in the first round but faltered with a 73 Thursday, pooled a 213 total and dropped to joint 19th with seven others in individual play. They included fancied Americans Anna Davis and Rachel Kuehn, who matched par 72s.

The ICTSI-backed Malixi improved to tied 36th with a 217, her bid stymied by a pair of 74s, while Grace Quintanilla, who counted for the team with a 73 in the second round, also posted another 73 but didn’t count in the three-to-play, two-to-count format event.

Quintanilla stood at tied 78th with 226.

Gabasa broke a one-birdie, one-bogey card at the front with birdies on Nos. 12 and 14 but missed preserving a two-under card with another mishap on No. 15 before playing the last three holes on even par for a 36-35.

Due for a big outing, Malixi snapped a run of seven pars with a birdie on the eighth. She picked up another stroke on No. 10 and went three-under with another feat on the 13th.

A bogey on No. 15 stalled her charge although Malixi, who has moved to No. 67 in the world amateur rankings, regained the stroke on the next before holing out with a bogey-birdie run for a 35-34.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese Huai-Chien Hsu charged back with a 66 to tie Thai Navaporn Soontreeyapas, who wound up with an