Megha Ganne: 17-year-old high school student has an unforgettable day at the US Women’s Open

When this happened, Megha Ganne was just a child.

Fast forward to 2021 and Ganne – a 17-year-old high school student – pulled off the same feat on the lake course at the Olympic club, finishing four under 67 after day one of the 2021 major.

Known for its twisted fairways bordered by forests, small greens and dense roughs, the course is difficult to navigate.

But Ganne managed to balance the cutthroat conditions of cool, wet and foggy and 6,361 yards with impressive puttings, and back-nine birdies over the last nine saw him take the lead on his own.

However, on the 18th hole his approach shot landed in a bunker on the green and Ganne finished with a bogey to end the day sharing the lead with Englishman Mel Reid.

This is the first year that the San Francisco Lake Course has hosted a major women’s tournament, but it has plenty of high profile competitive history for the men, including five US Open tournaments.

Playing for high stakes

Ganne, from New Jersey, is ranked third in the Rolex AJGA Rankings and 71st in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) and is in good shape to keep her cool when playing for high stakes.

She is a four-time finalist in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Championship and competed in the Augusta Women’s National Amateur Championship in April. In 2019, she reached the semi-finals of the US Women’s Amateur at the Old Waverly Golf Club in Mississippi.

In 2020, after qualifying for match play in the US Women’s Amateur, she finished the year with the top five places at the AJGA Girls Championship, Rolex Tournament of Champions and Dixie Amateur.

Megha Ganne competes in the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Augusta National in April 2019.
At a post-round press conference, Ganne admitted that her first impression of the sprawling course had upset her a bit.

“It was a little terrifying to see him for the first time, but I did a few laps and gained some confidence,” added Ganne, who plans to attend Stanford University in 2022.

After his tour, the LPGA tweeted: “What a demonstration of amateur Megha Ganne.”

After playing for the first time at the US Open tournament in Charleston in 2019 at the age of 15, Ganne managed to calm his nerves for the second time.

“I think the first time is trying for everyone and meeting your idols and being on stage for the first time,” she explained.

“But the second time around, even the practice laps, I wasn’t that nervous. I felt like I could come here and just play my game instead of absorbing it all.”

Seal at the top

On a day when most players were struggling to beat the par, Englishman Reid made five birdies and only had one bogey.

“I didn’t think that score was there honestly,” said Reid. “I had a pretty good game plan. It’s probably the best I’ve had for a tournament.”

The world No. The 33-year-old, who won his first LPGA Tour title last October, also credited quadruple major male winner Brooks Koepka for his guidance.

“He gave me a few tips that he takes in a major, so I obviously appreciate his help,” she said. “What he told me was, I thought, invaluable, honestly, and it made me take a little different approach. That’s why I feel like I prepared the best.”

Catherine Lacoste remains the only amateur to have won the US Women’s Open, winning the Harton S. Semple Trophy in 1967.

Ganne will continue to aim for victory on Friday in a group alongside Hong Kong’s Tiffany Chan and Finland’s Matilda Castren.

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