By Karen Crouse
The primary time Megha Ganne competed on one of many world’s most famed golf programs, her viewers included the two-time main winner Martin Kaymer, a former males’s world No. 1. It was on the 2015 finals of the Drive, Chip and Putt contest at Augusta Nationwide, and Kaymer was on the vary when an 11-year-old Ganne hit her first drive.
Six years later, with a lot increased stakes, Ganne is a 17-year-old newbie and is taking part in with aplomb on an analogous stage. In her second United States Girls’s Open — which is being held for the primary time on the Olympic Membership, the positioning of 5 main males’s championships — she was on the high of the leaderboard after the early rounds on Friday. By dusk, she had been handed by two gamers — Yuka Saso of the Philippines, who shot a four-under-par 67 for a 36-hole rating of six underneath, and Lee Jeong-eun, who additionally shot a 67 and was 5 underneath for the match.
Ganne, a highschool junior from Holmdel, N.J., adopted her opening-round four-under-par 67 on the Olympic Membership’s Lake Course with an even-par 71 to quickly share first place with Megan Khang (70) whereas the afternoon wave of gamers was nonetheless on the course.
“It performed a bit of bit longer, however aside from that fairly comparable,” an unfazed Ganne stated.
Ganne, a fast strider who swings her arms facet to facet as if in a rush to get the place she’s going, had a quick turnaround between rounds.
She returned to the course Friday lower than 12 hours after she signed her opening-round scorecard and spoke about her efficiency as if her viewers was a passel of Holmdel Excessive mates and never a media cluster. She credited her consolation degree right here to her publicity to the highlight as a four-time finalist within the Drive, Chip and Putt contest and as a participant on this 12 months’s Augusta Nationwide Girls’s Newbie.
She is an Augusta Nationwide success story, the primary graduate of the Drive, Chip and Putt finals to carry not less than a share of the lead in a girls’s main.
“It’s actually comparable, you recognize, actually prestigious and quite a lot of cameras and quite a lot of consideration on you,” stated Ganne, who added, “It was nice preparation for the strain.”
The U.S. Girls’s Open has all through its 76-year historical past been a form of coming-out get together for younger gamers, just like the 10-year-old Beverly Klass in 1967, the 11-year-old Lucy Li in 2014 and the 12-year-old Lexi Thompson in 2007. After gaining acclaim for his or her youth, none survived the reduce.
The match is, in concept, essentially the most accessible of majors. Almost half the gamers on this 12 months’s subject — 76 of the 156 entrants, together with Ganne — earned their berths via 36-hole qualifiers held all through the nation. Ganne secured her spot on the second playoff gap of her qualifier. It speaks to the vagaries of golf that a youngster who was on the verge of elimination in qualifying can rise to the highest of the leaderboard via two rounds.
“It simply all appears actually enjoyable and a greater story to inform than I acquired in with out a playoff,” Ganne stated. The final newbie to guide after a spherical within the U.S. Girls’s Open was Jane Park, a 19-year-old who held a share of first place after the opening spherical in 2006 at Newport Nation Membership.
Ganne’s galleries have included members of the ladies’s golf teaching employees at Stanford, which she has verbally dedicated to attend beginning within the fall of 2022, and her household. Ganne’s father, Hari, is an information-technology skilled. Her mom, Sudha, is an endocrinologist, and her youthful sister, Sirina, 13, is an eighth grader who additionally performs golf.
Her mom stated her telephone had vibrated in her jacket pocket for your complete second 9 of her daughter’s first spherical and nicely into Thursday night time as texts arrived from mates and neighbors again in New Jersey. She awoke Friday to extra messages from relations in India. On Thursday, Sudha Ganne expressed a want for Megha to stay “a daily child and luxuriate in different issues” moreover golf.
A day later, Ganne’s mom waded via a gallery that had grown tenfold in a single day, stared on the leaderboard along with her daughter’s title atop it and fearful that somebody had sped up the belt conveying Megha via adolescence. She will hear the armchair profession counselors now: If Megha can contend for a $1 million winner’s test whereas nonetheless in highschool, why go to varsity?
“She’s completely going to varsity. There’s little question about that,” Ganne’s mom stated.
However just like the calculus homework awaiting Ganne’s consideration, success is introducing difficult variables. “I’m a bit of overwhelmed with the eye, however I’m hoping she’s going to address it and possibly we’ll attempt to assist her with it,” Ganne’s mom stated.
Ganne appears high quality with the eye, however then, she all the time has gravitated to the highlight. She has appeared in class performs, as soon as because the Queen of Hearts after auditioning for the lead function of Alice in Wonderland. She threw herself into her portrayal as Alice’s predominant protagonist.
“She was the Queen of Hearts and he or she lived it,” Ganne’s mom stated with amusing.
However Ganne attracts a line at social media. That form of consideration, she has determined, is pointless. Negativity that has been heaped on a few of her mates on Twitter has soured Ganne on the platform.
After her Thursday spherical, Ganne was interviewed by 15-year-old twins, Amelia and Adinah Dellegencia, who’re pupil journalists. They lauded Ganne’s “lady energy” and described her as “fairly cool.” They requested for her Twitter deal with, and their jaws dropped in unison when she stated, “I’m social media-free, truly.”
Amelia recovered from the shock and stated, “She’s so cool. She needs to be on social media.”