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Estero golfer, 15, makes cut, in 30-player final at Augusta National

Gianna Clemente
Augusta National Women's Amateur
Special to WGCU
Gianna Clemente

Gianna Clemente stood at the precipice of her dream of playing Augusta National Golf Course.

She was two over par after seven holes and four over par for the tournament. She was on the wrong side of the cutline, meaning should would not qualify for Saturday’s final round at the famed course where the Masters will be played next week.

But the Estero resident birdied the 18th hole for the second day in a row (she started Thursday playing the back nine) and went on to birdie four holes on the second nine to finish with a four under par 69.

She’stied for ninth at one under par for the tournament. Clemente, who turned 15 a week ago, is the youngest golfer in the tournament.

“I played pretty good,” she said of Thursday’s round. “I got off to a shaky start, but once I got my putter rolling.”

Clemente had four three-putt greens Wednesday. She had none on Thursday.

Clemente got off to shaky starts the first two days. She bogeyed the first two holes on Wednesday.

“It was coincidental,” she said of the bad starts. “It was good to battle back.”

Clemente got up 4:30 Thursday morning to get ready for her 8 a.m. tee time.

“It was pretty chilly,” she said.

It was foggy, too. A 10-minute delay turned into an hour.

The golf course was easier on Thursday, Clemente said. The pins were in easier positions, and there was less wind.

The scored showed it. Twenty-seven of the 72 players shot under par compared to 12 Wednesday.

All 72 players get to practice at Augusta National today, then the 30 players who made the cut play the final round Saturday.

“I’m super excited,” she said of getting her first chance to play at Augusta National.

Rose Zhang, a 19-year-old sophomore at Stanford, leads the tournament by five strokes. She shot a 65 to go along with Wednesday’s 66. Her closest competitor is five strokes back

NBC will televise the final round from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday.

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