When this happened, Megha Ganne was just a child.
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.
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.
“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 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.”
“He gave me a few things that he is following 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.”
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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