Holmdel, N.J. - Golf has been apart of Megha Ganne’s life since she was seven years old when her father, Hari, brought her to the Galloping Hill Golf Course in Kenilworth and set her up on the girls tee.
It was love at first sight and since that day, Ganne has rose up the national ranks of girls golf and will step on the biggest stage of them all this weekend when she competes in the 74th U.S. Women’s Open Championship.
Ganne’s life changed in just 36 holes on the Banks Course at the Forsgate Country Club last month during the Women’s U.S. Open sectional qualfying event.
With just one spot open, Ganne went into playing in the sectional qualifier as a fun experience to learn from and to just try to play her best.
Before she knew it, Ganne saw herself leading the pack and by the end of the tournament, the 15-year-old had clinched a spot in the U.S. Open by winning the qualifier by one stroke with an even-par 142 (70-72).
“I came into the qualifier thinking this is going to be a good experience, just play my best and then left knowing that I was going to play in the biggest women’s event in the world,” Ganne said. “It’s absolutely unbelievable.”
Playing in a big time tournament will not be something Ganne is not used to.
She has competed the last two years at the Girls Junior Championships, the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amaetur and the 2018 U.S. Women’s Four-Ball Championship. Ganne has also been a finalist the last four years at the Drive, Chip and Putt Championships, being the only junior golfer to do so in the events six-year existence.
It’s the people around Ganne that have kept her motivated and driven to be the best she can be.
From her golf coach Katie Brenny Rudolph to her friends to having a very supportive family, Ganne is very grateful to have a lot of support around her.
Ganne’s family has been by her side through every step as she competed in these national tournaments. Traveling on long road trips with her to tournaments across to country and even overseas to France.
“No one around me has ever told me that couldn’t do this and I am very grateful to have that kind of support and use it as a motivator,” Ganne said.
Ganne, who is finishing up her freshman year of high school, competed for the Holmdel High School girls golf team for the first time this spring.
Holmdel won both the Monmouth County Tournament and, for the third year in a row, won the Shore Conference Tournament.
Not sure what to expect with playing high school golf, Ganne said playing for Holmdel this spring ‘totally exceeded’ her expectations.
Loving anything team related, Ganne had a blast playing for the Hornets this spring, having fun both on and off the golf course with her teammates and coaches.
“Everybody on the team is so amazing and supportive,” Ganne said. “Any sort of team event is more fun than individual golf. We have some really good golfers on our team. Most of the girls on the team are juniors, so they teach me a lot about high school and I teach them a lot about golf.”
Ganne has had a month to prepare for the U.S. Open. Just like her approach for both the sectional qualifier and the Girls Junior Championships, Ganne will have the same mindset for the U.S. Open, looking at the tournament as a whole as a learning experience to build on.
“I have always wanted to play against the best players,” Ganne said. “My biggest stage before (U.S. Open) had been the Girls Juniors and my mindset going into that was how can I make the most of that time learning from the best players in the world. Now, I’m not even playing against the best juniors, but against the best professional and amatuer golfers in the world. I just want to see what makes them so great. If I can just take a little bit of what they do with me, it’ll help my golf game grow even further.”
It was eight years ago when Ganne first hit off a tee at the Galloping Hill Golf Course.
Fast forward to now, about to play in one of the biggest events there is in women’s golf, Ganne couldn’t have thought she be where she is now with an opportunity to play in the U.S. Open.
Just recently, Ganne went back to Galloping Hill and saw girls ages five to 10 years old play in its golf program. Watching them play, Ganne is still in awe of how far she has come in the last eight years.
“I never would have thought that coming from there that I would’ve gone to where I am today,” Ganne said. “It’s crazy. I’m super excited to compete at the U.S. Open.”
The U.S. Women's Open Championship will be held May 30-June 3 at the Country Club of Charleston in South Carolina.
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