Emilie Alba Paltrinieri in position to win in AJGA debut at ANNIKA Invitational

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Emilie Alba Paltrinieri in position to win in AJGA debut at ANNIKA Invitational

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Emilie Alba Paltrinieri in position to win in AJGA debut at ANNIKA Invitational

It didn’t look easy for a stretch Saturday for Emilie Alba Paltrinieri, but ultimately she ended with what she wanted.

The 2020 Italian prospect fired a 2-under 70 in the second round of the ANNIKA Invitational, putting her at 6 under overall and allowing her to keep her one-shot lead over Rachel Heck heading into Monday’s final round.

Paltrinieri birdied her first two holes of the round at Reunion (Fla.) Resort’s Watson Course, to shoot out to 6 under, but bogeys at Nos. 6 and 9 brought her back down. A strong second nine allowed her to stay on top, as she birdied Nos. 12 and 18 to finish out the 70.

The International player is actually already committed to UCLA, and has also done enough on her globe-trotting resume to have earned a spot on Europe’s 2016 Junior Ryder Cup team. Yet, this is in fact Paltrinieri’s first AJGA event.

Paltrinieri may have to fend off the top player in the Class of 2020 to make it a win in her opening start. Heck, ranked 8th overall, is not only the best of 2020 but also recently committed to Stanford.

She went bogey-free on Day Two to stay within one shot. Only seven players are under par overall, with No. 22 Brooke Seay third at 4 under, No. 16 Elizabeth Wang fourth at 3 under, No. 10 Ya Chun Chang and No. 62 Cory Lopez tied for fifth at 2 under, and No. 86 Virginia Green and No. 30 Michaela Morard (another 2020 player, who has committed to Alabama) tied for seventh at 1 under. Defending champion Jaravee Boonchant, a Duke signee, is T-18 at 2 over.

Nine of the top 20 in Golfweek’s junior girls rankings are in the field this week.

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