Estero golfer, 15, youngest of 72 participants in Augusta National Women’s Amateur tournament
Estero’s Gianna Clemente set a goal two years ago to play in one of the most prestigious women amateur golf events in the world. This week she reaches it.
Clement is one of 72 women from all over the world who will compete starting Wednesday in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur tournament in Augusta, Georgia.
“Super excited,” Clemente said about the invitation that came in January.
Clemente turned 15 last week and is the youngest player in the field. She qualified by being one of the top 30 ranked amateurs in the United States based on 2022’s Women’s World Amateur Golf rankings.
The Augusta tournament started in 2019 and quickly rose to the top of amateur events. It’s held a week before the Masters tournament, one of the men’s four major championships.
Clemente played practice rounds on Sunday, and continues those Monday and Tuesday at the Champions Retreat Gulf Club in Augusta where the first two rounds will be played.
The top 30 scores then play the final 18 holes Saturday at Augusta National.
Clemente has never played at the famed course, but she did compete in the drive, chip and putt skills competition at Augusta when she was 8.
Clemente played a couple of rounds on the Champions Retreat course a few months ago.
“It’s very difficult,” she said. “It’s a little bit long.”
She said she’s been working hard the past couple of weeks spending lots of time on the golf course.
“She’s definitely prepped to go” said her coach Spencer Graham.
“She’s really playing well. She’s really sharp,” he said. “Her game is really focused. The mental aspect is there.”
He said he wouldn’t be surprised if she won, even though she is the youngest player in the field.
Clemente is used to competing against older golfers. She won the prestigious South Atlantic Women’s Amateur Championship in January, competing mostly against women four and five years older than her.
“It’s a very comfortable feeling for me,” she said. “It doesn’t bother me.”
Clemente’s dad, Patrick, will caddy for her. He’s just glad to be part of the event.
“We’ve prepared for this like we would for any other event,” he said, “but this week is special.”
The 30 players who make the cut play a practice round at the famed Augusta National course on Friday and then play the final round there Saturday.
The Golf Channel will air coverage from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. NBC will air the final round from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday.
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