Georgia’s Caterina Don won the Italian Women’s Open Championship at the Golf Club Nazionale on Saturday. The native of Pinerolo, Italy, wrapped up the 36-hole Italian Pro Tour event at 3-under 141.
Don fired a 3-under 69 to grab a three-shot lead following Friday’s opening round. She closed with an even-par 72 on Saturday to hold off Alessia Nobilio by one stroke.
“I’m definitely excited,” Don said. “We don’t have many pros in Italy, but it was really good to play and compete with them. Today I played with Giulia Sergas, who played in the Olympics in Rio in 2016.”
Don’s performance continued an impressive return to the course for the All-American who is currently No. 11 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. Following a four-month layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Don earned medalist honors in qualifying and advanced to the semifinals of Italian Match Play Championships. She shot 6-under 282 to finish as runner up at the Italian Ladies Amateur Stroke Play Championship.
“It’s great to win after getting to the semis and the next week finishing second,” Don said. “I was putting my second-place trophy up, and I counted that I had five of those. I thought ‘I want to win! I can’t get another second place trophy.’ I am really excited to win this competition.”
Don’s victory represents the third by Georgia golfers in the past week. Sophomore Jenny Bae captured the Georgia State Golf Association’s Match Play Championship on Thursday. Freshman Candice Mahe shot 7-under 137 en route to a 12-shot victory at the Grand Prix de Ploemeur Ocean last Sunday.
Don had to decline her spot in next week’s U.S. Women’s Amateur at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md.
“I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to play in the U.S. Am,” Don said. “You get to compete against the top players in the world there. It’s complicated with the quarantine. We did not know what we were facing going there, and I might have to quarantine after I arrived. We made the decision to play in this tournament instead, but I’m really excited to get back to school at UGA. I really, really hope the USGA will give out exemptions into the U.S. Women’s Open in November. I’m hoping for one of those.”
Céleste Dao, Don’s classmate, will compete in the U.S. Am. She earned a spot in the field by qualifying for last year’s U.S. Women’s Open, her second straight appearance in the tournament.