Golf champion eyes GPS app
By BRIAN DZENIS
Gianna Clemente, a 10-year-old world champion golfer, is on a quest for her own iPhone.
The golf prodigy can’t get a phone just yet — says father Patrick Clemente — but she pretty much gets everything she wants on the links.
This past week in El Cajon, Calif., she won her second international golf title at the IMG Academy Junior World Championships in the 9-10 age group.
She took home the title by beating Hong Kong’s Arianna Lau by a stroke, making her the only American on the girls side of six age groups.
“I’m very proud of myself, but I tried to stay focused on myself and not everybody else,” Gianna said. “I didn’t really care about anyone else in the tournament.
“I just focus on what I’m doing and how I’m doing.”
She’s been doing very well as of late. Her IMG win was her second international title and 105th tournament victory in her career.
“In the junior golf world before you get to AJGA events, the 12, 14 years old or more, there’s only two world championships,” Patrick said. “There’s one in Pinehurst, North Carolina run by [U.S. Kids Golf] and this was the original Callaway World Championship made famous by Tiger Woods when he was a kid.
“Gia won in Pinehurst when she was 7 and last year here at IMG, she finished fifth,” he said. “We had more expectations to win here because she’s had a lot of success and in our opinion, this was the strongest field in the world because of all the international players.”
In her final round at Sycuan Resort, she birdied the first three holes and finished the front nine 2-under par. She was 2-over on the back nine to finish with a 72 for the day and a three-round score of 213.
Gianna is on a tournament tour through California. She’ll take a break in August and then continue to train around the country during the fall.
While she has spent time in the Warren JFK school system, she’ll be taking online courses this fall. She makes plenty of friends in the golf world.
“I have lots of friends from Texas, Arizona, New York — I mean everywhere,” Gianna said. “I do travel a lot but I do have friends from all over.”
The focus for Gianna going forward is maturity and keeping a positive attitude from tournament to tournament. Each tournament trophy is taken in stride, even when she crossed the 100 victory mark, there was little fanfare.
“We didn’t really do anything special. I knew it was my 100th event, but I don’t think I did anything for it,” Gianna said. “I didn’t that iPhone, I can tell you that.”