Georgia’s Caterina Don covered 36 holes at an 8-under pace to win the stroke-play qualifying portion of the Italian Ladies Match Play Championship on Wednesday. Don, a rising sophomore from Pinerolo, Italy, carded rounds of 67 and 69 at Lignano Golf Club to outpace the field by five strokes.
Don grabbed the lead with her 5-under loop on Tuesday, her first competitive round in one day shy of four months. She followed that with a bogey-free 3-under loop on Wednesday. Don was the only golfer to post a round in the 60s among the 65 competitors in the field, and she did so twice.
Alessia Nobilio, who will a freshman at UCLA this fall, finished second in qualifying at 3-under 141. Don and Nobilio are currently ranked No. 9 and No. 2, respectively, in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
Don is the No. 1 seed in the 32-golfer match play bracket. She will face Caterina Tatti in the opening round on Thursday. The tournament features two rounds of match play on Thursday, the quarterfinals and semifinals on Friday and the championship match on Saturday.
Don enjoyed a stellar freshman year in Athens. She earned second-team All-America and All-SEC honors after leading the Bulldogs in virtually every statistical category. Don posted four top-5 finishes in seven tournaments during the 2019-20 campaign, and her season stroke average of 72.15 was the fifth-best ever for Georgia. She captured medalist honors at the season-opening Minnesota Invitational and in the process became just the second Georgia golfer to win her collegiate debut, and the first to do so in more than two decades.
Don’s last tournament prior to this week was Georgia’s appearance in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate in March. The rest of the Bulldogs’ season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.