U.S. Women’s Amateur qualifier at Ford's Colony County Club sees third-youngest golfer ever to qualify

Staff writer

Three young women earned spots at the 119th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship at an invitational held at Ford’s Colony Country Club. One of them is the third youngest golfer to qualify for the tournament, which will be held Aug. 5 at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss.

Ohio State rising sophomore Aneka Seumanutafa took top medalist honors with a 5-under-par 67 while fellow Big Ten golfer Tracy Lee of Wisconsin finished second with a 69. The third and final spot went to 11-year-old Ohio native Gianna Clemente.

Finishing with a 1-under 71, Gianna birdied three of the last five holes to qualify, finishing one stroke ahead of two fourth-place finishers.

Clemente said that she waited anxiously after finishing her round to see if she would make the cut.

“I made some birdies on 14, 15, 16, and I knew I was close, but I needed to step it up,” said Clemente. “Those last couple of holes made me nervous, but it was a really great feeling when I looked at the scoreboard and knew I made the Amateur.”

While Clemente is just 11, she already has an impressive record as a golfer. She is a three-time World Champion and has 108 career victories in 130 events played. 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.

“I’m very proud of myself. I worked pretty hard and it’s nice to know hard work pays off,” said Clemente. “I believe in myself enough that I can do anything, but it’s nice to know that I accomplished something that’s very important.”

According to the USGA, Clemente will be 11 years, 4 months and 14 days old when the U.S. Women’s Amateur begins in August. 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, and neither made the cut to advance to match play. Nearly all of the other golfers competing in the Amateur are college-aged.

Sean CW Korsgaard can be reached at 757-968-1529, by email sean.korsgaard@vagazette.com, and on Twitter @SCWKorsgaard.

Copyright © 2019, The Virginia Gazette