How a 17-year-old junior golfer is leading the U.S. Women’s Open
SAN FRANCISCO — Megha Ganne is not afraid of the spotlight. That much is clear after her even-par 71 in the second round of the U.S. Women’s Open.
Ganne wowed fans with an opening-round four-under 67. But backing that up with a rock-solid 71 on Friday was arguably even more impressive. Even though she’s just 17 years old, Ganne had no issue navigating the nerves in Round 2 and getting through the treacherous Olympic Club setup unscathed.
“[I felt] way more calm than yesterday,” she said. “I wasn’t as stressed out.”
Ganne became the first amateur since 2006 to lead or co-lead after any round at the U.S Women’s Open after her opening round, so a return into the pack would have come as no shock. But despite two bogeys over her first six holes, Ganne manage to right the ship and card three birdies over her next 12 holes to sign for 71. When she finished her round, her place on the leaderboard was just where it started: T1. (Her first-round co-leader Mel Reid had yet to tee off.)
As she walked the hilly fairways of The Olympic Club, galleries swelled to sizes not seen since the pre-Covid era — just how Ganne prefers it. By the time she holed a lengthy par save at her final hole (No. 8), fans were lined up five deep to cheer on the teenage sensation.
“I love it so much,” she said of the legion of adoring fans. “I wish every event I had a gallery watching me because it just makes me play better. And I love being in the spotlight, so it’s been really fun.”
Listening to her address reporters, it’s easy to forget Ganne is just a high school student. She speaks the way she plays: with conviction. The typical trappings of high school — drama and social media — seem a world away. Leading the biggest tournament in the game requires tunnel vision.
In fact, Ganne doesn’t even use social media — quite the rarity for a member of Gen Z.
“There’s so much negative effects that I see on teenagers of social media,” Ganne said. “It’s not something I want to try to experiment with … I’m feeling fine without it.”
But even while she opts out of one teenage norm, she can’t escape another one: homework. Even though she’s leading the U.S. Women’s Open, she’s still got a calculus assignment to tend to.
“I don’t know how I’m going to manage to fit that into my schedule in the next few days,” Ganne laughed. “Hopefully my teacher gives me a little bit more time to do that. It’s hard to balance both.”
If she keeps up her stellar play at The Olympic Club, a missed assignment will be the last thing on her mind.