Ryder Cup-bound Estero teen ready for her golf match in Rome

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:
ryder cup
Gianna Clemente holding a golf trophy. CREDIT: GIANNA CLEMENTE

A 15-year-old golfer from Estero was selected to go to Rome to play on the United States Ryder Cup team. Gianna Clemente is one of only 12 junior golfers selected to compete in the match.

She’s had an incredible summer, including a win at the Junior PGA Championship earlier in August. That win helped secure her spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Gianna is a rising star on the golf course. She’s ranked number one on the Rolex American Junior Golf Association Rankings.

“It’s been a long time coming, but yeah, it looks really good,” said Gianna.

The Estero teen started swinging a club when she was 2, and Gianna is focused on perfecting her stroke.

“She was very self-motivated and self-driven as a young kid, would scream and yell if she didn’t win a card game,” said Patrick Clemente, Gianna’s father.

When Gianna was 12, she clearly outlined her ultimate goal.

“I put a printed piece of paper on my bedroom door a couple of years ago that said Ryder Cup on it, so every time I would walk into my bedroom, I’d be reminded that I needed to work harder to make the Ryder Cup team,” said Gianna.

That dream came true when Gianna came from three strokes back to win the Junior PGA Championship earlier in August.

“When I was walking up 18 at the Junior PGA, I was thinking to myself, wow, I’m actually in the Ryder Cup team now,” said Gianna, “and it was definitely pretty crazy to kind of finally realize that after so long of working towards one specific goal.”

Gianna just played in the U.S. Women’s Amateur in Los Angeles. In March, she became the youngest player to make the cut at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

Last Fall, Gianna played in three LPGA events and never cared that she was the youngest player in the field.

“I was 11 and 12 playing with 16-, 17-, 18-year-olds,” said Gianna. “So honestly, I kind of take it as motivation to be better.”

Gianna knows when it comes to golf it’s all about birdies and eagles and pars.

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