Golfer Rianne Mikhaela Malixi atoned herself for a disappointing performance in the semifinals by leading the Philippines to victory over Singapore and a bronze medal finish in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam Wednesday.
The 15-year-old prodigy, who forced the playoff by holding off Aloysa Atienza, 3&2, holed a chip from behind the green for birdie to edge Hailey Loh Suanne in the fourth extra hole.
She hit it soft, the ball landing in the collar before rolling straight to the cup. She earlier overshot her approach shot into the thick rough.
Suanne, who earlier routed Lois Kaye Go, 4&3, came close to extending the playoff, but her chip lipped out of the hole.
Malixi started the day still seething over her collapse against Nathakritta Vongtaveelap of Thailand in the closing holes the day before that led to a similar playoff.
Against Atienza, daughter of Filipino migrants, Malixi led from start to finish, clinching the match with a birdie on the 16th hole.
Go, on the other hand, found Suanne a tough nut to crack, winning only one hole.
“Opponent didn’t make any mistake,” Go conceded. “Couldn’t get any of my putts to drop.”
Suanne did not make a single bogey, including the extra four holes.
She had a chance to sink a makeable birdie putt in the first playoff hole, but the ball failed to drop.
It was Malixi’s turn to end the match in the third playoff hole at the par-4 No. 1, but watched her putt from seven feet miss the target.
Both players returned to the par-5 ninth, the same hole where Go was beaten by Vongtaveelap via playoff in the semifinals.
Suanne had the better position for her third shot, but she overshot the green.
Malixi also sent her ball rolling to the thick rough behind the green, setting up the dramatic finish.
It was the only match that needed extra holes to finish on a day Malaysia and Thailand split the team events.
The Malaysians stunned the Thais, 2-1, through Ervin Chang and Rhaasrikanesh Kanavathi.
Chang outlasted Weerawish Narkprachar, 2&1, while Kanavathi upended Pongsapak Laopakdee, 1-up.
Thai Ratchanon Chantananuwat averted an embarrassing shutout by edging Marcus Lim Pang Chuen, 1-up.
In the women’s final, Thailand edged Malaysia, 1.5-0.5.
Eila Galitsky provided the decisive point, edging Jeneath Wong, 1-up, while Vongtaveelap halved the match with Mirabel Ting Ern Hui.