Indian-Origin Megha Ganne, 17, Hogs Limelight at US Women’s Open
Ganne shot 67 to emerge as the first amateur in 15 years to lead the US Women’s Open after the opening round.
It calls for a trip down the memory lane to retrieve the last time an amateur secured the lead after a round in the US Women's Open. For the record, Jane Park blazed the trail at Newport Country Club in 2006.
Flash forward to 2021 and it’s Meghna Ganne, a 17-year-old high-school teen sharing Indian lineage, who pulled off an encore on the Lake Course at The Olympic Club, finishing on a four-under 67 on the opening day of the 2021 edition of the major.
Dotted with twisted, forest-lined fairways, tiny greens and dense rough, the course is a tough nut to crack. But Ganne held her own in the unforgiving cool, damp and foggy conditions and 6,361 yardage to deliver a putting masterclass, while consecutive birdies on the back nine allowed her to take sole possession of the lead.
“I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life,” an ecstatic Ganne said. “It’s everything I’ve wanted since I was little, so it’s just the best feeling.”
The New Jersey-based wunderkind shot rounds of 67-71-72 for a total of three-under 210 and was four shots shy of the leader Lexi Thompson (66) at the culmination of day one. Lying second at that point was 36-hole leader Yuka Saso, who bogeyed her final hole to nudge aside Nasa Hataoka on Sunday and become the second teenager to win the US Women's Open after Thompson collapsed down the stretch.
Shanshan Feng (2-under; 211), Nasa Hataoka (212) and Megan Khang (212) form the lone triplet of contenders in red figures at a venue that has produced just four under-par scores over 72 holes in the five US Opens played out hitherto.
Ganne went about her business with surgical precision as she went 23 holes on the bounce without a bogey or worse before recording a 5 on the par-4 sixth on Saturday, the last competitor on the turf to sustain an outward-nine blemish.
The teenage sensation believes that the secret to her success lies in keeping things simple and enjoying the game to the hilt. Although she does acknowledge the fact that her parents are the driving force behind her calm and composed ways as they keep the atmosphere light at all times.
“My parents are really easy-going and not what you would have in mind for typical golf parents. Their number-one goal is for me to just have fun. That's what I'm doing. It doesn't really get too stressful.’’ Ganne emphasised.
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