When over 100 women tee it up later this year at the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Old Waverly Golf Club in Mississippi, a child will be among them. That’s because 11-year-old (!) Gianna Clemente made it into the field, and in doing so, became the third-youngest golfer to qualify for the event.
Here’s Golf Digest with the details on how her qualifying round went down.
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.)
After going out in 38 on her first nine earlier this week in the qualifier, Clemente dropped a bogey-free 33 on the back to get in. She clipped two other participants by a single stroke each. That’s incredible.
“I turned at 2 over, and I knew I had to step it up if I wanted to even finish well,” she told WKBN. “I made some birdies … and I knew I was close, but I was a little bit nervous on 17 and 18. I try to focus on my own game and not try to focus on the score or the scoreboard …”
Again, this girl is 11! Eligible for all the kid rides at state fairs. Qualifies for the kids meals at most fast food establishments! To have the poise and talent to do what she did … well, it goes without saying, but it’s a monumental achievement for anyone.
“I’m very proud of myself. I worked pretty hard, and it’s nice to know that hard work pays off,” she added in that interview, noting that her dad was keeping her from looking at the board after signing for her 71.
“It was a really great feeling when I finally looked at the scoreboard and found out that I made the Am. It was a really great feeling. [The other participants] were pretty surprised that I was 11 and made the top three. … I believe in myself enough that I believe I can do anything, but it’s nice to know that I accomplished something that was very important.”
Wink of the CBS eye to Golf Digest