SAN FRANCISCO – Megha Ganne will be known as more than low amateur at the 2021 U.S. Open at Olympic Club. The 17-year-old became a new idol to hundreds young girls this week.
Ganne used to be that wide-eyed little girl asking for autographs, and now she’s the one signing the hats, balls, and flags.
“It's my favorite part of the whole week,” said Ganne at Saturday’s press conference following her 1-over 72. “I love spending time with them and saying hello and just seeing their smiles.”
On Saturday, Ganne was counting down the hours until her final round paring with the American favorite Lexi Thompson and 19-year-old Yuka Saso from the Philippines. Ganne knew there was a chance she could hoist that trophy and she was going to give it all she could on Sunday to make it happen.
“I guarantee you all 156 people in this field have thought about winning this championship and they just don't say it because they want to seem humble. But, yeah, it's been down there and hopefully I have a chance tomorrow,” Ganne said on Saturday.
On Sunday morning at 10:35 PT, the hours were up, and Ganne teed off first out of the three players.
It was a little bit of a rocky start. Ganne’s tee shot landed into heavy rough, and she began the day with a double bogey. After a heartbreaking bogey-bogey finish from Lexi Thompson, Yuka Saso defeated Nasa Hataoka in a three-hole playoff and became the first Filipino to win a U.S. Women’s Open.
“It was tough for everyone. My whole group was struggling a little bit,” Ganne said on Sunday following her 6-over 77. “The pins were really difficult today. It played like a completely different track than it did on Thursday and Friday. I was just trying to get through it, and I'm glad I came back on the back nine with a strong round.”
A true class act. Ganne didn’t get frustrated for shooting a higher score than she wanted. She knew the course was bound to get her like it did everyone, but she was composed and motivated to fight the entire day for some birdies, which she finally got on the par-5 17th. She also knew that regardless of the final round results, it would be the week of a lifetime.
“I'm going to remember this for the rest of my life. It's everything I've wanted since I was little, so it's just the best feeling.”
Ganne rolled in her 5-footer par putt on the last hole, and fans erupted in applause. She waved to the crowd surrounding the 18th green with an electric smile on her face.
“I can't thank all these fans enough. They've made my week so much better than it could have been. I just felt like there was so much love and so much support, and all of them are really excited to be out here, which is so great to see because I feel like in a small way, I'm making an impact on the game, which is really cool.”
Ganne’s future looks bright – not only in golf, but how she will impact the game as a person.