Daily Tribune (Philippines)

Hernandez, Malixi top SEAG elims

- D. NAVARRO

Jet Hernandez matched par 72 to dominate the men’s side by 16 strokes over John Edward Dy at the close of the 8-round Southeast Asian (SEA) Games qualifier at the Luisita Golf and Country Club Sunday.

But Rianne Malixi posted a more convincing triumph in women’s elims, finishing 17 shots clear of Arnie Taguines despite a double-bogey marred 77.

Malixi totaled 594, clinching the lone berth in the Hanoi SEA Games-bound national team she had virtually booked after a sterling performanc­e in the first 72 holes.

The ICTSI-backed Malixi built a 12-stroke cushion with a 294 after four rounds, also at the tight, challengin­g Luisita layout.

Though she fumbled with an 80 in the sixth round hat enabled Taguines to cut the deficit to nine, the 2020 national stroke play champion restored a double-digit lead (13 strokes) with a 71 in the penultimat­e round Saturday.

“SEA Games will be my biggest team event,” said Malixi, 14, who will be joining LK Go in the Philippine squad for the SEA Games slated 12 to 23 May in Hanoi. The third and last berth will be a captain’s pick.

The women’s team is the defending champion in the biennial games after Bianca Pagdangana­n, with Abby Arevalo and Go, led the hosts’ sweep of the individual and team gold medals in the 2019 SEA Games, also held at Luisita.

Taguines skied to an 81 but still placed second with a 611, five strokes ahead of Mafy Singson, who ended up with a 616 after a 75.

Laurea Duque shot a 77 for fourth at 625 followed by Sunshine Zhang (79-630), Reese Ng (80-631) Jody Castillo (86-648) and Gabie Rosca (82-651).

Hernandez, who entered the final 18 holes with a 12-shot cushion, heading hit four birdies against two bogeys in the first nine holes.

SEA Games will be my biggest team event.

A double bogey on the par-5 No. 16 stymied his assault as he wound up with a 34-36 for an eight-round total of 572.

After going under in the past three rounds (71-70-69), Dy limped with a 76 but still had no trouble claiming the other SEA Games slot with a 588 total.

Gab Manotoc fell way short of his comeback bid, his closing 71 just enough for a third place effort at 598 while Kristoffer Arevalo ended up fourth at 600 after a 72.

Masaichi Otake carded a 74 for fifth at 601 followed by Shinichi Suzuki (78-602), Elee Bisera (76-607), Ryan Monsalve (77-608), Ivan Monsalve (80-611) and Miguel Ilas (71-613).

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