Clemson, S.C.—Katherine Schuster (Outer Banks, NC) and Melena Barrientos (Plano, Tex), two of the top 25 players in the nation in the class of 2021 according to the latest AJGA rankings, have each signed a national letter of intent with Kelley Hester’s Clemson women’s golf program. Both will enroll in August of 2021.
“I am extremely pleased to announce the addition of both Katherine Schuster and Melena Barrientos,” said Hester. “Both young ladies have proven they can win at a state and national level and will bring that wealth of experience to Clemson.”
Schuster is the #1 player in North Carolina, #7 in the class of 2021 and the #22 overall player in the nation by the AJGA. One of her signature wins took place at the Arizona Silver Belle in November of 2019 when she led all amateurs, junior and collegiate. She also won the Dixie Amateur, CGA Twin States, The North-South Junior Amateur, The Beth Daniel Azalea, The Hope Valley Championship (twice), and the North Carolina Junior Girls Championship.
As the only member of her First Flight High School team, Schuster won medalist honors at the 1A-2A High School State Championships in North Carolina each of the last three years and will have a chance to become just the second four-time state champion in the history of women’s high school golf in North Carolina this coming spring.
Among her many honors, Schuster was named an AJGA Honorable Mention All American, and the Carolinas Player of the Year. In 2018, she won the Drive, Chip and Putt national championship at Augusta National in the 14-15 year-old division.
Barrietos is the #23 player in the nation in the class of 2021 according to the latest AJGA rankings, the sixth best player in Texas. She is the #60 overall player in the nation by AJGA and 76th by Golfweek.
Barrietos has three career wins, a second-place finish, six top five finishes and 12 top 10s in her career in AJGA events. In 2018, she captured the Gary Woodlands Classic by five shots. In 2020, she had a pair of wins in dominating fashion, the Coca Cola Classic and the GreatLIFE Junior Challenge. She captured the GreatLIFE Challenge by eight shots with a 207 score after rounds of 70-70-67, then won the Coca Cola Classic at Sugarloaf by the same margin.
That means her three career AJGA wins are by a total of 21 shots. In 2019, she was one of five players to tie for first after 54 holes at the Hunter Mahan Junior Championship before losing in a playoff.
As far as USGA events, Barrietos and a teammate reached the round of 16 at the US Amateur Four-Ball in Jacksonville, Fla. in 2019 after finishing in the round of 32 the previous year. She also participated in the 2019 US Junior Amateur.
At Plano West High School, Barrientos won four tournaments, two each as a sophomore and a junior. She had a career low round of 61 during her junior year. Her Plano West Senior High Team was state 6A runner-up.