Indian-American teenager finishes as the the low amateur at the 2021 US Women’s Open
Indian American high school junior Megha Ganne may have finished only as the low amateur at the 2021 US Women’s Open Golf tournament, but she has become a new idol to hundreds of young girls.
The 17-year-old from New Jersey played in the final group, but shot 77 and finished 3 over as the low amateur as Yuka Saso became the first filipino to win the tournament at Olympic Club, San Francisco Sunday.
“I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life,” said Ganne, who is poised to become a future ‘Megha-star,’ as the Golf Channel put it. “It’s everything I’ve wanted since I was little, so it’s just the best feeling.”
“It’s my favorite part of the whole week,” said Ganne at Saturday’s press conference following her 1-over 72. “I love spending time with them and saying hello and just seeing their smiles.”
On Saturday, Ganne was counting down the hours until her final round paring with the American favorite Lexi Thompson and 19-year-old Yuka Saso.
Ganne knew there was a chance she could hoist that trophy and she was going to give it all she could on Sunday to make it happen, the Golf Channel said.
“I guarantee you all 156 people in this field have thought about winning this championship and they just don’t say it because they want to seem humble. But, yeah, it’s been down there and hopefully I have a chance tomorrow,” she was quoted as saying.
On Sunday morning at 10:35 PT, the hours were up, and Ganne teed off first out of the three players. It was a little bit of a rocky start. Ganne’s tee shot landed into heavy rough, and she began the day with a double bogey.
After a heartbreaking bogey-bogey finish from Lexi Thompson, Yuka Saso defeated Nasa Hataoka in a three-hole playoff.
“It was tough for everyone. My whole group was struggling a little bit,” Ganne said on Sunday following her 6-over 77.
“The pins were really difficult today. It played like a completely different track than it did on Thursday and Friday. I was just trying to get through it, and I’m glad I came back on the back nine with a strong round.”
Ganne didn’t get frustrated for shooting a higher score than she wanted, Golf Channel said. She knew the course was bound to get her like it did everyone, but she was composed and motivated to fight the entire day for some birdies, which she finally got on the par-5 17th.
She also knew that regardless of the final round results, it would be the week of a lifetime. Ganne rolled in her 5-footer par putt on the last hole, and fans erupted in applause. She waved to the crowd surrounding the 18th green with an electric smile on her face.
“I can’t thank all these fans enough. They’ve made my week so much better than it could have been.”
“I just felt like there was so much love and so much support, and all of them are really excited to be out here, which is so great to see because I feel like in a small way, I’m making an impact on the game, which is really cool.”
Earlier on Thursday, Ganne emerged as the first amateur in 15 years — the last was Jane Park in 2006 — to lead the US Women’s Open after the first round.
She carded a 4-under-par 67, one off the 18-hole amateur scoring record. Ganne is only the sixth amateur in the tournament’s 76-year history to shoot 67 or better.
As a four-minute video of Ganne’s performance from the first round went viral on the internet, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy tweeted his support for Ganne Friday afternoon.
“New Jersey’s own Megha Ganne is on absolute fire at the US Women’s Open. Megha, all of New Jersey is behind you as you continue to dominate the leaderboard!”