Gianna Clemente earned one of the two sponsor invites to play in the Twin Bridges Championship this week. The 14-year-old will tee it up in Albany, New York as the youngest player in the field.
“When I found out I got the exemption, I was really excited,” said Clemente. “I’m really excited about this week, to see the course and have some fun.”
The Floridian plays on one of the biggest junior golf tours, the American Junior Golf Association. Currently No. 6 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, Clemente has five top-10 finishes on the 2022 season, including solo third at the K.J. Choi Foundation Texas Junior Championship presented by Mediheal and sixth at the KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational. Most recently Clemente finished second at the Rolex Girls Junior Championship.
“I’m feeling really good about where my game is at,” said Clemente. “I feel like I’m playing really well. I almost got the win [at Rolex Girls], but Kaitlyn [Schroeder] was playing really well, and I was super happy for her.”
At just 14 years old, Clemente has already made a name for herself in the golf world. Her accomplishments follow a similar path of Epson Tour alumna, former World No. 1 and major champion, Nelly Korda.
“Nelly is Nelly,” said Clemente. “I think every single junior golfer looks up to her in some way.”
Clemente and Korda share the title of past champion at The PING Invitational. Korda won the event back in 2015, while Clemente is the reigning 2021 champion.
“I remember they had a little sign of all the past champions,” said Clemente. “I was just looking at all of the names and it was amazing how many names I recognized. Hopefully someday I’ll be doing what Nelly’s doing, but it was definitely surreal to look at that sign and see her name on it.”
Matching PING Invitational titles isn’t the only similarity the Americans have. Like Clemente, Korda also finished second at the 2015 Rolex Girls Junior Championship and spent time near the top of the Rolex AJGA Rankings, finishing No. 4 at the end of the 2015 season.
Clemente dreams of playing on the LPGA Tour and plans on playing for as long as possible.
“I want to play on the LPGA,” said Clemente. “I want to go to college, and I want to play golf as long as I can. Golf is kind of the only thing I’ve ever really known, and the golf course is a second home to me.”
While some golfers enjoy going out and playing a fun 18, Clemente feels most in her element when she’s competing. Tournaments are the reason she loves the game, and why she continues to play.
“I think I just immediately fell in love with playing tournaments, the pressure and adrenaline,” said Clemente. “To be able to play all of the tournaments I’ve played, I fell in love with it, and I continue to fall in love with it more every single day.”
Clemente tees of the first at 12:52 p.m. on Friday.