Golf: Teenage amateur Megha Ganne holds share of US Women's Open lead

Megha Ganne, 17, recorded six birdies against two bogeys on the biggest stage in women's golf.
Megha Ganne, 17, recorded six birdies against two bogeys on the biggest stage in women's golf. PHOTO: AFP

SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) - High school junior Megha Ganne carded a four-under 67 on Thursday (June 4) to share the first-round lead with England's Mel Reid at the US Women's Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.

The 17-year-old amateur recorded six birdies against two bogeys on the biggest stage in women's golf. She held the lead until a bogey at the 18th knocked her back into a tie.

The 33-year-old Reid notched five birdies and one bogey in her first trip around the Lake Course.

Megan Khang, Angel Yin and Canada's Brooke Henderson were tied for third, one shot back.

Ganne, who attends Holmdel High in New Jersey, is playing in her second US Women's Open. She said she is much more comfortable this time around.

"I think the first time is nerve-wracking for anybody and meeting your idols and being on the stage for the first time," Ganne said. "But the second time around, even the practice rounds, I wasn't as nervous. I felt like I could come here and just play my game instead of soaking that all in. So I got that out of the way the first time around. Definitely a little bit easier this time."

Ganne did not make the cut in her first US Women's Open as a 15-year-old high school freshman in 2019 at Charleston. She is not going to have that problem this time around unless she suffers an epic collapse.

The Stanford-bound player started fast with birdies on Nos. 2 and 4 and added another on No. 8. She bogeyed No. 11 but recovered with birdies on three of the ensuing five holes before stumbling on the 18th.

Ganne said she should have been more cautious on the last hole, similar to her approach throughout the round that she said was the key.

"I think just my ability to play smart and not take any unnecessary risks," she said of her success. "I didn't panic when I got into the rough a couple of times out there because there are definitely holes I wasn't keeping in the fairway, and it's easy to panic out there, and I didn't do that. So I think that was it."

Reid has just one LPGA Tour win and that came last October at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. Her best finish in a Major came when she tied for third at the Women's PGA Championship in 2019.

But she put together a crisp round that was bogey-free until she also faltered at No. 18.

She shot par on each of the six holes before registering birdies on three of the next five. She later posted birdies on No.s 15 and 16 and said she was surprised to shoot four-under.

"I didn't think that score was out there, honestly," Reid said. "Yeah, I had a pretty good game plan. It's probably the best I've had for a tournament. We had a game plan and stuck to it.

"If you're in trouble, just get it out, make bogey. I think the key here is to not take many risks the first two, three days, and I didn't do that."

Reid described her play as "very, very solid" but also is well aware that one stellar round does not win a tournament.

"There's a long, long way to go, and if you don't pay attention, this golf course can really eat you up," Reid said. "Just need to stay focused. Whoever wins at the end of this is going to be really tired come Sunday."

Henderson had six birdies, and one of her three bogeys came on the 18th to prevent her from holding a share of the lead.

Khang had five birdies and two bogeys while Yin carded one eagle, three birdies and two bogeys. Yin's eagle came on the par-five, 17th hole.

Lexi Thompson, China's Feng Shanshan and the Philippines' Yuka Saso are tied for sixth place at two-under 69.

South Korea's Ko Jin-young Ko, the world No. 1, is one of seven golfers tied for ninth at one under.

Two amateurs - Gurleen Kaur (who attends Baylor University) and Sweden's Maja Stark - were among the 10 tied for 16th at even-par.

Defending champion Kim A-lim of South Korea had a rough time and shot eight-over 79. She had four bogeys, one double-bogey, and one triple-bogey as well as one birdie.