Francesca Fiorellini, impressive start in Evans

The tournament, featuring 72 of the world's top amateur players, started an hour late due to inclement weather.

by Andrea Gussoni
Francesca Fiorellini, impressive start in Evans
© Getty Images Sport - Valerio Pennicino / Stringer

In the United States, Francesca Fiorellini has made an impressive start. The 18-year-old from Rome, playing in Evans, Georgia, finished the first round of the Women's Masters in 2nd place with a score of 67 (-5), trailing only Scottish player Hannah Darling, who leads with a score of 66 (-6).

Fiorellini's bogey-free round, highlighted by five birdies, marks her debut at the Augusta National Women's Amateur, now in its fifth edition this year. "I'm very pleased with this start; my game supported me throughout the course.

I managed to create many birdie opportunities and capitalized on them. I hope to continue this way in the coming days and, above all, to enjoy every moment of this wonderful experience," expressed Fiorellini, sharing the 2nd position with Thai player Eila Galitsky and Swedish player Ingrid Lindblad, the world's number one among amateurs.

Francesca Fiorellini, results

The tournament, featuring 72 of the world's top amateur players, started an hour late due to inclement weather. Light rain followed by strong winds characterized the opening round. Playing at the Champions Retreat Golf Club (par 72) for the first two rounds (with the final round scheduled at the Augusta National on Saturday, April 6), Fiorellini took advantage of three out of four par fives on the course.

By her side was coach Enrico Trentin, serving as her caddie for the occasion. Once again, Italy has made a strong start at the Women's Masters. In 2022, Benedetta Moresco led the first round but eventually finished fourth. Now, it's Fiorellini's turn, a budding talent who in 2023 contributed to the young European team's double victory at both the Junior Solheim Cup (in Spain) and the Junior Ryder Cup (in Rome).

Augusta National Golf Club, often simply referred to as Augusta National, Augusta, or the National, stands as a renowned private golf club nestled in Augusta, Georgia, United States. Distinguished from most private golf clubs, which typically operate as non-profits, Augusta National functions as a for-profit corporation.

However, it maintains a veil of privacy, abstaining from disclosing details such as its income, assets, roster of members, or ticket sales. Conceived by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, the layout of the course was crafted by Jones himself in collaboration with Alister MacKenzie.

It officially debuted for play in 1932. Since 1934, Augusta National has been the esteemed venue for the annual Masters Tournament, a premier event among the four men's major championships in professional golf. Notably, the Masters is unique among the majors for being hosted consistently at the same course year after year.

Throughout its rich history, Augusta National has earned accolades for its architectural brilliance and playing experience. It earned the distinction of being ranked as the top course in Golf Digest's 2009 compilation of America's 100 greatest courses.

Moreover, it secured the tenth position in Golfweek Magazine's 2011 list of the finest classic courses in the United States, based on course architecture. In a significant stride towards inclusivity, Augusta National initiated a co-hosting arrangement in 2019, partnering with the Champions Retreat Golf Club to present the Augusta National Women's Amateur—a testament to the club's commitment to advancing the sport and fostering diversity within its hallowed grounds.