July 04, 2019

11-year-old becomes third-youngest golfer to qualify for the U.S. Women's Amateur



OOLTEWAH, TN - SEPTEMBER 24: Girls 10-11 Drive winner Gianna Clemente poses during the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at The Honors Course on September 24, 2017 in Ooltewah, Tennessee. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images for DC&P Championship)

Photo by: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images for DC&P Championship

Daniel Shirey/Getty Images for DC&P Championship

Gianna Clemente is just 11 years old, but she already has a golf résumé worth boasting about. She is a two-time winner of her age division at the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship, and she qualified for the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta National in 2017. Her list of accomplishments grew on Wednesday when the Warren, Ohio, native became the third youngest golfer to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Amateur in the championship’s 119-year history.

At Ford’s Colony Country Club in Williamsburg, Va., Clemente shot a one-under 71 in her 18-hole qualifier, making birdies on three of her final five holes to grab the third and final spot being offered into the U.S. Women’s Amateur field. (Ohio State sophomore-to-be Aneka Seumanutafa took medalist honors with a five-under 67 while fellow Big Ten golfer Tracy Lee of Wisconsin finished second with a 69.)

“I’m very proud of myself. I worked pretty hard and it’s nice to know hard work pays off,” Clemente told WKBN-TV in Ohio.

Clemente will be 11 years, 4 months and 14 days old when the U.S. Women’s Amateur begins at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss., on Aug. 5. The only competitors younger than Clemente to play in the championship were Lucy Li in 2013 and Latanna Stone in 2012, both 10 years old at the time. Neither made the cut to advance to match play.

After finishing her round, Clemente waited anxiously as she knew she'd be on the bubble for the final spot in the 33-player qualifier.

“My dad was trying to keep me away from the scoreboard, but I just kept walking back there,” she said. “I was a little nervous in the pro shop, but it was a really great feeling when I looked at the scoreboard and knew I made the Amateur.

“I believe in myself enough that I can do anything, but it’s nice to know that I accomplished something that’s very important.”

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