Dream match: Ikeda vs Malixi

Photographs by Bob Dungo Jr. for the Daily Tribune @tribunephl_bob CHIHIRO Ikeda gets an acid test against amateur star Rianne Malixi in the semifinals of the ICTSI Villamor Match Play Championship at the Villamor Golf Club.

Chihiro Ikeda and Rianne Malixi forged a dream semifinal matchup following comfortable victories in the ICTSI Villamor Match Play Championship at the Villamor Golf Club in Pasay City Wednesday.

Ikeda, the Order of Merit winner, built a three-hole lead after eight holes and went on to eliminate Lovelynn Guioguio, 7 and 6.

Malixi, the 15-year-old winner of three pro tournaments this year, disposed of Gretchen Villacencio, 3 and 2.

Ikeda expects a tough match.

“Malixi is playing very good now, so I will just play my game,” said Ikeda, a two-time winner this season.

Malixi, toughened up by stint in the United States, took control after the sixth hole and protected a three-hole lead until the end.

“Last four holes my irons were a little bit off but I was able to pull up some putts, the most crucial was my 6-footer (on No. 16) for the win,” said Malixi whose last win came in the Thai Junior World title in Thailand.

Malixi said putting will be key not only against the seasoned Ikeda but also in her title drive.

“Hopefully I’ll improve on my iron shots and focus on my distance,” said the ICTSI-backed two-time American Junior Golf Association winner.

In the other half of the draw, Harmie Constantino fashioned out a 3 and 1 victory over Sunshine Baraquiel while Marvi Monsalve rallied to repel Florence Bisera, 1-up.

Constantino, who marked her rookie season with two victories, both at Eagle Ridge-Aoki, last year, can’t look beyond Monsalve.

“My plan is to accept the bad shots and try to hit birdies with my putting and not through approach shots since my long game and irons aren’t still 100 percent,” said Monsalve.

She was a hole down against Bisera after 14 but took the next two to wrest control then held on to the finish to hack out the come-from-behind win.

Constantino battled Baraquiel evenly after five holes but took two of the next three then led by as many as five.

“First two holes, I got a little relaxed and didn’t focus much as I was supposed to, especially in this kind of format. But I got back on track and started making birdies, getting more holes, and making fewer mistakes than Shine (Baraquiel),” Constantino said.

“My plan is to attack the pin tomorrow, or maybe just try to put my drive in the fairway and not try to hit the cutline or wherever the opening is.”


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