Avani Prashanth shoots third under par round but slips to 11th at WAAP

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Pattaya (Thailand), Feb 3 (PTI) Avani Prashanth endured a tough day but still managed a third straight under par score, a one-under 71, to lie 11th at the 2024 Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific Championships (WAAP) here on Saturday.

In the third round, Avani, who had 68-69 on the first two days, had two birdies, one of which was a hole out from the bunker on the second, and one bogey on the Par-5 eighth.

Avani is now 8-under as Chinese Taipei’s Chun-wei Wu (66) was on the top at 18-under.

Wu was being chased by Philippines diminutive Rianne Mikhaela Malixi, who holed out from the fairway for an eagle on the Par-5 10th, in her record round of 9-under 63. Malixi is 14-under and second.

On a day of low scoring for the top players, China’s Zhang Yahui (66) and Korea’s Hyosong Lee (67) were tied third at 13-under, while Thailand’s Pimpisa Rubrong (68) was fifth.

India’s Saanvi Somu, just 15, and playing her first WAAP, shot 75 and is tied 48th. Saanvi had two birdies against five bogeys.

The star of the day was Malixi, whose coach is Asia-based Canadian Rick Gibson, a multiple winner in Asia in the 1990s, and twice runner-up at the Indian Open.

Avani said, "I hit probably every fairway, but my approaches were just either too long or too short. Everything in the line of the pin, which is very frustrating.

"I couldn't convert after hitting it that far off. Otherwise, it's a good thing that I hit all fairways. Hopefully, tomorrow is better, and I'll just go work on my approaches now." On seeing so many others go very low, Avani said, “Definitely does give confidence. I know I can shoot low. After hitting every fairway, I gave myself a chance on every single hole.

"I have to get my approaches close, and I'll start making a lot more putts. That should get me my low round tomorrow." The Bengaluru golfer, who has already got an invite for the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, which is one of the prizes for the winner this week, said her plan for the day was clear.

"I've got nothing to lose, just go for the kill on every hole,” said Avani, who flies to Kenya next week to play the Magical Kenya Ladies Open, a Ladies European Tour pro event, where she was in Top-10 last year.

On an action-packed day, Thailand’s Novaporn Soontreeyapas (69) got her second hole-in-one in three rounds.

After acing the Par-3 seventh on the first day, she got another hole-in-one on Par-3 16th. She is tied eighth with World No. 4 Minsol Kim and another Thai Achiraya Sriwang (69) at 9-under. PTI Cor ATK