Megha Ganne of Colts Neck Golf Club put together back-to-back rounds of 67-67 for a 36-hole total of 10-under-par 134 to win the 64th NJSGA Junior Girls Championship by two strokes on June 28 at Neshanic Valley Golf Course in Neshanic Station. The Junior Girls Championship is for girls 18 and under.
In the concurrent 48th NJSGA W.Y. Dear Boys Championship, Tyler Lee of Ridgewood Country Club carded an 8-over-par 73-79-152 to edge Liam White, also of Ridgewood, who shot 76-77-153. Franklin Zhu of New Jersey National Golf Club (78-80-158) was third. The boys played Neshanic Valley at 6,169 yards.
Ganne, 14, an incoming freshman at Holmdel High School, bested defending champion Christine Shao of New Jersey National Golf Club (67-69-136) while Eunice Kim of White Beeches Golf and Country Club (70-71-141) was third. The yardage for the girls’ championship was 5,391.
The back-to-back 67s were the best rounds of Ganne’s career, eclipsing a 68 she recorded this January at Innisbrook Golf Resort in Florida.
Already an accomplished competitor at an early age, Ganne applied her experience at Neshanic Valley. “This was the first time I played the course, so I was going off the yardage book. I tried not to overpower the course. I had to think my way around, so it was about course management, which I’m usually not good at,” said Ganne, who has already played in three U.S. Girls’ Junior and one U.S. Women’s Amateur Championships.
Ganne has also qualified for the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club in 2015, 2017 and 2018.
In the first round on Wednesday, Ganne carded a double bogey on her first hole and then fired seven birdies over the final 17 holes. In the final round, she again recorded seven birdies, this time with two bogeys.
“I’ve been working on my pitching and it paid off in this tournament,” noted Ganne, who said she did not feel any pressure playing alongside Shao in the final round. “We’ve become really good friends over the last year. I’ve always looked up to her. We were laughing and having fun out there.”
This was Ganne’s third try at the championship. “Being from New Jersey, it’s a really nice title to have. Being a state champion is a nice thing to have on my resume,” she said.
Tyler Lee, who turns 14 in September, hung on for his victory after holding a five-shot lead with six holes to play.
“At the end, I had a hard time getting up and down. I guess I got a little nervous,” said Lee, who lives most of the year with his family in Dallas but calls Franklin Lakes home in the summer.
“I had a two-shot lead coming into 18, so I played it safe and managed to make a birdie with two putts. The best thing I did out here these two days was hitting it straight and long,” said Lee, who last summer won the boys division of the four-day Texas Junior PGA Boys and Girls Championship.
White, 14, is an incoming freshman at Bergen Catholic and plans to join the golf team there. “I didn’t play as well as I would’ve liked to,” he said.
Now New Jersey state champions, Ganne and Lee can build on the confi