Day Two at the Dixie: Clemente and Shimoji move to top

With a mix of firepower and steady play, Gianna Clemente and Taka Shimoji rose to the top of the leaderboards at the halfway point of the Dixie Amateurs being contested in South Florida.

Clemente, a 14-year-old from Warren, Ohio, fired a 7-under 64 at Palm Aire Country Club in Pompano Beach on Friday to take a one-shot lead in the women’s division while Shimoji turned in his second consecutive 1-under par round of 71 at Eagle Trace in Coral Springs to take a one-stroke lead on the men’s side.

Both leaders are being hotly pursued heading into the weekend, as a total of 15 golfers are within four shots of the lead at the halfway mark of the tournament.

Clemente turns up the heat at Palm Aire

Showing all of the skills of a two-time AJGA All-American, Clemente carded a 7-under round of 64 on Friday at Palm Aire Country Club. At 5-under 134 for the tournament, she enjoys a one-stroke lead over Latanna Stone and Angela Arora, who shot rounds of 69 and 68, respectively, to move to 4-under 138 at the 36-hole mark of the tournament.

Clemente, who had two wins among her six top-five finishes on the AJGA circuit in 2021, collected birdies on holes 2, 4 and 6 to make the turn at 33 and then picked up four more birdies on her inward nine, including one on the closing hole, for a round of 64.

Stone, a junior at LSU who qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur as a 10-year-old in 2012, and Arora, a 16-year-old from Surrey, British Columbia, head into the weekend just one off the pace at 4-under 138.

First-round co-leaders Chelsea Romas and Yunyuan (Michelle) Zhang are just two off the pace after both golfers carded 1-over rounds of 72 on Friday.

Steady Shimoji takes over lead at Eagle Trace

Shimoji’s second consecutive round of 71 at Eagle Trace moved the Kennesaw State golfer to the top of the leaderboard which sees 10 golfers within four strokes of the lead heading into the weekend.

Shimoji’s three birdies on his Friday card offset a double bogey on the par-3 11th hole and gave the native of Okinawa, Japan a one-stroke lead over five golfers at the halfway point of the tournament.

Among his closest pursuers are first-round leader Manuel Barbachano, who followed up his opening round of 70 with a 73 on Friday; and 54-year-old Englishman Edward Richardson, a reinstated amateur who won the Hong Kong Open Amateur in 2012.