Yuka Saso birdied the third playoff hole to beat Nasa Hataoka June 6 and become the second teenager to win the U.S. Women’s Open after Lexi Thompson collapsed down the stretch in San Francisco, reported the Associated Press.
Indian American New Jersey high school junior Megha Ganne, from Holmdel, played in the final group, but shot 77 and finished 3 over as the low amateur for the tournament.
“I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life,” Ganne said. “It’s everything I’ve wanted since I was little, so it’s just the best feeling.”
Ganne shot a 4-under 67 on June 3 to become the first amateur in 15 years to have a share of the lead after any round at the U.S. Women’s Open.
The 17-year-old made back-to-back birdies on the back nine to take sole possession of the lead before making bogey on the 18th hole to end the day in a tie with Mel Reid on the Lake Course at the Olympic Club.
Ganne became the first amateur to lead after a round at the women’s Open since Jane Park did it after one round at Newport Country Club in 2006.
“I think just my ability to play smart and not take any unnecessary risks, and I didn’t panic when I got into the rough a couple of times out there,” Ganne said of the key to her success. “Because there are definitely holes I wasn’t keeping in the fairway, and it’s easy to panic out there, and I didn’t do that.”
India-West Staff Reporter adds: According to shethepeople.tv, Ganne has been playing golf for a long time but started her professional career in her high school junior year. She competed in the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur and the 2018 U.S. Women’s Four-Ball Championship. In 2019, she played the U.S. Women’s Open in Charleston.
The golf player is a four-time-finalist at the Drive, Chip and Putt National Championship at Augusta National.
The young golfer has also participated in Scott Robertson Memorial, Diamond Resorts ANNIKA Invitational, Rolex Tournament of Champions, AJGA girls championship and Rolex Girls Junior Championship.
According to PTI, her parents Sudha and Hari backed her interest in golf.
Her mother, an endocrinologist, told the Times of India that “we have always been an outdoors family who’ve wanted our children to pursue sports rather than video games. That said, Megha is academically focused…she can speak to you after school at 3 p.m.”
After a stellar performance, when Ganne got back home a calculus homework was awaiting her.
After her round June 4 when she was asked what was more difficult: playing the second round of the U.S. Women’s Open or the calculus homework she has waiting for her.
Probably the calculus,” she chuckled, reported the publication. “I don’t know how I’m don’t know how I’m going to manage to fit that into my schedule in the next few days. Hopefully, my teacher gives me a little bit more time to do that but yeah, it’s hard to balance both.”
This prompted Gold Channel reporter Kira Dixon to post this tweet: “Dear Megha Ganne’s calculus teacher, Please, help a girl out. Signed, @KiraDixon and #TheTapIn.”
The tweet soon elicited a response from her teacher: “Hi. I’m Megha Ganne’s Calculus Teacher. I'll help a girl out :) Megha, you are exempt from the project. We are all rooting for you! Good Luck.”
Ganne’s skill and her demeanor absolutely charmed golf fans across the board.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy tweeted this June 4: “New Jersey’s own Megha Ganne is on absolute fire at the #USWomensOpen. Megha – all of New Jersey is behind you as you continue to dominate the leaderboard!”
Golfweek writer Beth Ann Nichols wrote: “While so many are focused on Brooks and Bryson, there’s a high school junior contending at a major ... at Olympic!” adding that “My goodness is she a breath of fresh air.”
In an article titled, “Megha Ganne’s memorable run at 2021 U.S. Women’s Open reminded us how golf can simply be fun,” CBS Sports Kyle Porter wrote: “She played her way into the final group on Sunday alongside Lexi Thompson -- who would go on to dramatically lose the tournament -- and Yuka Saso -- who would go on to win in a playoff. And yet, it was Ganne that I could not stop watching… The swing, the energy and the smile that could run a country.”
“Megha Ganne will be known as more than low amateur at the 2021 U.S. Open at Olympic Club,” announced Golf Channel. “The 17-year-old became a new idol to hundreds young girls this week.”
Ganne plans to go to Stanford after graduating high school next year.
(With AP reports)