Kiara Romero beats Rianne Malixi for U.S. Girls’ Junior title

AIR FORCE ACADEMY. Colo. — Kiara Romero won the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship on Saturday, outlasting Rianne Malixi 1-up in the 36-final at the U.S. Air Force Academy Eisenhower Golf Club.

The 17-year-old Romero, from San Jose, California, took the lead with a par on the 31st — the 121-yard 13th hole on the Blue Course — and halved the final five holes with pars.

An incoming freshman at Oregon, Romero earned spots in the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania and the 2024 Augusta National Women’s Amateur. Both finalists are exempt next month in the U.S. Women’s Amateur in Los Angeles.

The 16-year-old Malixi was trying to become the second player from the Philippines to win the event, following Princes Mary Superal in 2014.

Malixi had a 2-up lead through seven, and Romero won Nos. 9 and 10 to tie. Malixi took Nos. 12 and 16 for another 2-up lead, and Romero rallied to tie it with par wins on Nos. 18 and 22. Romero won the par-4 26th with a par for her first lead, and Malixi tied it with a par on the par-4 28th.

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