Ganne continues stellar season; is co-medalist at U.S. Women's Amateur Qualifying
Photo: Gio Kim, co-medalists Linda Wang and Megha Ganne, Brynn Walker and Katie Li
Six weeks ago, 15-year-old Megha Ganne of Holmdel was the second youngest player in the field at the U.S. Women’s Open in at the Country Club of Charleston in South Carolina, after finishing as medalist in Sectional Qualifying in mid-April at Forsgate. On Wednesday, she added to her list of accomplishments, firing a one-under-par 71, including a hole-in-one, to claim co-medalist honors in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Sectional Qualifying Round at Raritan Valley Country Club in Bridgewater.
Ganne’s hole-in-one occurred on the 198 yard, No. 6 hole, which was part of a three-under-par effort on her final four holes, closing her round with a birdie on the par 5, No. 9 hole. She shared the medal with Linda Wang of Plainview, N.Y., over the 6,432-yard Raritan Valley.
On the sixth hole, Ganne didn’t think she had come close to the hole – but was in for the most pleasant of surprises after hitting a four-hybrid off the tee. “I hit it into the sun and couldn’t see it. We checked the back bunker and the rough. I also looked at the out-of-bounds line and got nervous before I found it in the cup,” said Ganne, who was two-over after her first nine holes.
Three other qualifiers advanced to the Women’s Amateur Championship, including Gio Kim, 16, of Upper Saddle River, Katie Li, 14, of Basking Ridge and Brynn Walker, 21, of St. David, Pa.. The U.S. Women’s Amateur, August 5-11, at the Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss.
The alternates are Rina Jung of Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., (first alternate) and Emily Zhu of Canada (second), who both shot 74.
Last weekend, Ganne, who won the NJSGA Junior Girls Championship in 2018, shot 62 in her second round of the PGA Girls Junior Championship at the Keney Park Golf Course in Hartford, Conn., and finished sixth overall after rounds of 72-62-69-69-272. Her personal-best 62 in the second round set a course record, and is the lowest round in Girls’ Junior PGA Championship history.
She has reached the finals of the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Augusta National Golf Club each the past four years, and this year finished as runner-up in her age group and appeared on national TV. Ganne has also participated in the U.S. Women’s Four-Ball Championship in 2018 with partner Bailey Shoemaker of New York.
She qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur two years ago, at age 13, but failed to qualify last year. On Wednesday, she wore the same “lucky” orange-red long-sleeve shirt as she did in 2017. Next week, (July 22-27) Ganne will be playing in her third U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at SentryWorld in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
“Since I played in the U.S. Women’s Open, I have a lot more confidence in myself. I now get on the first tee with 100 percent focus instead of those unnecessary nerves,” Ganne said.
Wang, 21, is a rising senior on the St. John’s University golf team will be appearing in her first USGA event next month in Mississippi. Wang, who won a collegiate event for St. John’s in May, recorded an eagle on Wednesday when she chipped in from 15 feet on the par-5 No. 12 hole.
Kim, a rising junior at Northern Highlands High School, reached match play this spring with partner Eunice Kim of Edgewater in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla.
“I forgot my putter at home today and had to use a borrowed one. I used mostly driver. It was a long course and I was also happy with my irons,” Kim said.
Li will be a freshman in September at Ridge High School in Basking Ridge. She saved par on her final hole after a wayward drive put her behind a tree on the left side. Her round included five birdies and five bogeys. The U.S. Women’s Amateur will mark her first USGA event.
“I was lucky today. I don’t think I hit the ball that well, but saving par on the last hole really helped me,” Li said.
Walker, a rising senior at the University of North Carolina, will be playing in her fourth U.S. Women’s Amateur. She has also played in the past two ShopRite LPGA Classics at Seaview in Galloway. Her round at Raritan Valley included an eagle at the par-5 No. 10.