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May 19, 2024

Gianna Clemente

Jersey City, New Jersey, USA

Liberty National Golf Club

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: All right, here with Gianna Clemente, winner the 2024 AJGA Mizuho Americas Open. Welcome to the media center. Talk a little bit about the day today and some of the emotions that went into the first tee off this morning.

GIANNA CLEMENTE: Yeah, it definitely felt pretty good on the first tee. I had a really good warmup this morning. Got here a little bit early, got some good practice in.

I think as soon as I walked onto the first tee maybe a little bit of nerves, but I think I settled in really quickly. I didn't get off to a bad start. Just very solid. Definitely a lot of different emotions going on throughout the day.

I had a couple bad holes and those definitely -- I don't want to say they shook me up, but I was definitely very aware of what was going on.

Yeah, to be able to persevere through that was really special.

Q. Getting to play with the two that kind of ended up separating from the rest of the group and getting that experience being in the final group, what did you learn most from today and the experience of playing with Hannah and Nelly?

GIANNA CLEMENTE: I think just watching them and their composure. Obviously they're pretty much in the same situation that I am, just on a bigger stage.

You know, both were very, very close and even though I wasn't playing with my playing competitors I knew it was really close. So to watch them really stay composed and patient, which is what I was trying to do as well, I think just watching them do that was really cool.

Q. You got to watch history today. Planning alongside Nelly Korda. Is there anything that stood out to you from maybe her game or were you just locked in on yours?

GIANNA CLEMENTE: I think just, again, her composure. I know she didn't play 100% today, but just watching her take it one shot at a time. Again, that is what I was trying to do as well. Just watching that and knowing that I'm trying to do that as well. But to be able to watch it from inside the ropes is a really cool perspective.

So just to watch her try to stay patient and just grind out the day, it was really cool to watch.

Q. And for you, you've had so many incredible achievements on the golf course and we are familiar with you from a couple years ago. Where does this one rank for you? This is pretty big event to win tied in with Michelle Wie and now with Nelly and Rose. For you, where does this one rank?

GIANNA CLEMENTE: Very high. Last year I definitely didn't play the way I wanted to, but this is just such a beautiful place and such a special event. I think that just the way the event is run, the people here obviously getting to play alongside the pros, it doesn't get much better than that.

To be able to win at a place like this and event like this, it's really, really special.

Q. You've been in the mix and been headliner in some of the bigger events earlier this year, namely the ANWA. What have you learned about how to handle the attention? You said earlier this week you don't mind it, you like it. How have you learned to do that at such a young age?

GIANNA CLEMENTE: I think blocking a little bit of it out just comes with experience. Like at Augusta obviously the crowds were very loud and very, very close to the -- like very close to you as well.

And being in that final group I think just taught me a little bit of how to block it out even more. It's good, you know, when the crowds are embracing you and want to see you win and things like that.

So it's good when it's a positive on the positive side, but sometimes you do have to block it out. I think it just comes with experience. Just kind of knowing that they're going to be loud and they're going to be right up close. Yeah, just comes with experience for sure.

Q. First off, congratulations. It was a pleasure watching you play today. First question is: What did you learn about yourself today?

GIANNA CLEMENTE: I learned that I am capable. It's been a while since I won, especially an AJGA, which is crazy to say. I've had a lot of the amazing experiences recently, but it's been a while since I got a W.

To be able to finally pull it off and to be able to say that I won this tournament, not that I played well, but that I won, is really, really special.

It's been a long winter. I've had a lot of ups and downs this winter, so to be able to come out and win feels really good.

Q. You had one heck of a pairing today with Nelly and Hannah, friendliest golfers on tour. Did you get a chance to chat with them at all during the round?

GIANNA CLEMENTE: Yeah, I talked to Hannah quite a lot just about college and turning professional and things like that. She was very supportive in everything she was saying.

Obviously under a lot of pressure I know it can be difficult to start conversation, but she did a really good job just being supportive of everything that I'm doing and hope to do in the future as well.

Q. Did they lend any advice or anything?

GIANNA CLEMENTE: I don't think we talked enough for advice. I'm sure that if I asked I'm sure she would give amazing advice, either one of them. But, yeah, there were definitely some very tense moments where conversation was just not an option.

Q. Of course, of course. You played so beautifully most of the day but had a little bit of a blunder on 12; bounced back. How do you bounce back after the mistake on 12 to win?

GIANNA CLEMENTE: Yeah, it was definitely pretty difficult. I was actually feeling really good going into that hole. I wasn't shaken up at all. Obviously wanted to make more birdies, but I felt really good.

Yeah, just made a couple mistakes. Yeah, cost me two shots. But I think just I walked on to that next tee very calm, obviously very aware of what had just happened, but I was very calm and I just knew, okay let's make a couple pars and then we'll be right back on track.

Q. Finally, I talked to Hannah earlier and she said her favorite moment was on 15 when all three of you hit shots almost in the tap-in range. Would you agree with that? Was that your favorite moment of the day or was there another moment that sticks out?

GIANNA CLEMENTE: Yeah, that was a great moment for all three of us to really take advantage of that hole and the easiest pin position they could have chosen.

Yeah, it was a really cool moment for all three of us to gain a shot. Obviously they were battling it out a little bit closer than I was.

But, yeah, walking up 18 I knew I had three putts to work with, so I think that knowing that and just walking up 18 knowing that was really special as well.

Q. I only have one question. It pertains to the last hole. What were you thinking on that first putt? It went boom.

GIANNA CLEMENTE: Yeah, I definitely did not mean to do that. Yeah, I knew -- again, I knew I had three-putts to work with. I would've much rather had a tap-in, but I guess I wasn't really thinking much over that putt.

Yeah, just hit it way too hard. But the putt coming back, it was downhill but didn't have that much break so wasn't very difficult, so I knew I could make that one.

Again, I knew I had another putt to work with so I wasn't too worried about it.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much. Congrats.

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