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Ganne's Run Ends in U.S. Women's Amateur

UPDATE (August 10, 2019) – Fifteen-year-old Megha Ganne gave 11-time major championship competitor Albane Valenzuela of Switzerland all she could handle in Saturday's semifinal match of the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, but the 21-year-old and 2017 runner-up claimed the match with a birdie on the 20th hole, ending Ganne's spectacular run at Old Waverley Golf Club in West Point, Miss.

Related: U.S. Women's Amateur Home Page

Valenzuela went 3-up on Ganne through four holes. But, Ganne took advantage of several ensuing Valenzuela miscues on the greens, winning Nos. 6 and 9 to return her deficit to one.

While Valenzuela went back to 2-up with a winning par on the 12th, Ganne once again showed poise beyond her years, driving the 236-yard par-4 14th and rolling in the 12-foot eagle putt and making an up-and-down birdie from pine straw on the par-5 15th from 50 yards.

“That was probably the highlight of my week just because that’s what you play these events for,” Ganne told the USGA of her match-tying effort on 15. “Pars are nice, but when you get under pressure and people are watching and you’re in a match and you’re down and you pull off just two incredible shots like that, it really just feels good, and you can hold on to those memories for a long time.”

While an unplayable lie under the lip of a greenside bunker led to a concession for Valenzuela's birdie on 17 placed Ganne in a tough spot, she once again came through on the 18th as she had done multiple times this week. She had won the hole all three times she had played it, once for a victory and twice to extend matches to extras. She won it again when it counted the most, knocking her approach to six feet and having the look conceded as Valensuela failed to get up and down for par from the greenside rough.

However, playing the par-5 10th, Valenzuela rolled in a 10-footer for birdie while Ganne's bid from 8 feet slipped by. 

“I'm ready to be back here again, and I’m ready to go to the final and win it in the coming years," said Ganne, who is exempt for the next two U.S. Women's Amateurs including 2021 at Westchester Country Club. "I know that I have everything it takes. I’ve just got to test my game against really good players like Gina Kim in [the Round of] 64 and Albane, and I got to compare and see where they’re better and where I’m not, and I’m ready to work on those this winter, and I’ll be back next year.”

UPDATE (August 9, 2019)  While each of her first three matches in the U.S. Women's Amateur came down to the wire, Megha Ganne of Holmdel, N.J., didn't need the entire 18 (or extras) on Friday morning, as the 15-year-old secured a 3-and-2 victory over Caroline Canales of Calabasas, Calif., to advance to Saturday's semifinal round at Old Waverley Golf Club in West Point, Miss.

Related: Scoring | U.S. Women's Amateur Home Page

The match only had five ties, with Ganne – the youngest player remaining in the quarterfinals – taking Nos. 2-4 and Nos. 9-10 to help build a 4-up lead. While Canales trimmed the lead in half with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 11-12, Ganne remained poised and steady, as a par-four on the 14th returning her lead to 3-up. On the par-five 15th, Ganne hit her second within 15 feet, only to see Canales knock her hybrid to 6 feet. But, no stranger to clutch play this week having won matches in 18, 19 and 20 holes, Ganne drained her eagle bid before Canales did the same to tie the hole. A tie on the 16th sealed Ganne's spot in the semifinals.

"It was really weird not having to catch my breath over every shot," Ganne told the USGA after the win, referencing her tightly contested matches. "It was a lot more peaceful today."

Ganne, who competed on the MGA/WMGA's team in the French-American Challenge last fall, will take on Switzerland's Albane Valenzuela, who ranks No. 5 in the current Women's World Amateur Golf Ranking, in Saturday's first semifinal that begins at 7:30 a.m. Eastern. Ganne is making her third USGA championship appearance this season and her seventh overall.

Upon advancing to the semifinal round, Ganne has earned an exemption into both the 2020 U.S. Women's Amateur at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md., and the 2021 championship at Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y.

UPDATE (August 8, 2019) -- Late heroics from Megha Ganne of Holmdel, N.J., led the 15-year-old to a pair of extra-hole victories on Thursday as she advanced to the quarterfinal round in the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship.

Against Bentley Cotton of Austin, Texas in the morning, Ganne gathered a 4-up lead through seven holes, but saw it all slip away after Cotton won Nos. 14-15. Though Cotton won No. 17 with a par-three, Ganne won the 18th hole to extend the match. Ganne then birdied the par-four 1st to earn an afternoon matchup against Emily Hawkins of Lexington, N.C.

Ganne once again claimed a quick lead, winning each of the first three holes after lunch. Much like the morning, Ganne's opponent slowly chipped away, and tied the match with a win on No. 13. Ganne answered with a birdie on the par-four 14th, but Hawkins, who ousted co-medalist Jiarui Jin of China in the opening round, won the next two holes. 

But, just as she had done in her previous two matches, Ganne won the challenging par-four 18th. Sending the match to extra holes for the second straight time, Ganne then took advantage of the opportunity on the par-five 2nd, making birdie to win in 20 holes.

“Well, that was the hardest one out of [the Round of] 64, 32 and 16," Ganne told the USGA after securing her quarterfinal position. "I finished on the 18th hole in the first match, 19th hole in the second match [on Thursday morning], and we were joking, we were like, why don’t we go 20 on the last one. And as I was walking to the 20th hole, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, what have I done to myself.’ I hit three really good shots, and it ended up well.”

Ganne squares off against 16-year-old Caroline Canales of Calabasas, Calif., at 8:15 a.m. Eastern on Friday morning.

ELMSFORD, N.Y. (August 7, 2019) -- After securing the No. 48 seed in the 119th U.S. Women's Amateur Championship Tuesday at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss., New Jersey's Megha Ganne secured a 1-up victory in her Round of 64 match on Wednesday morning, defeating U.S. Women's Open low amateur Gina Kim of Chapel Hill, N.C.

Ganne, a four-time Drive, Chip and Putt National Finalist, is making her third appearance in a USGA championship this season after competing in the U.S. Women's Open and also advancing to match play in the U.S. Girls' Junior in late July. The 15-year-old Holmdel native carded a pair of 73s to advance to match play, and earn her spot against the Duke sophomore.

While No. 17 seed Kim won the first two holes, Ganne settled in with a birdie on the 161-yard par-three 3rd hole and squared the match with par on the par-four 5th.

The match only had five holes that resulted in a tie, with the the two trading Nos. 5 and 6, then 9 and 10 to give Kim a 1-up advantage again. Ganne once again took advantage of a par-three, making another two on the 112-yard 12th to tie the match once again. The duo tied the 13th, while each of the last five holes had a winner. Ganne made the most of her opportunity though, winning Nos. 15 and 16 to earn her first lead of the match. While Kim won the 17th with a birdie two, Ganne won the last with a par-four to advance to the Round of 32.

Ganne this past April helped the Holmdel girls' golf team win its third straight Shore Conference team title and last fall competed on the MGA/WMGA's team in the French-American Challenge matches in Paris.

Ganne will take on Austin, Texas native Bentley Cotton in the Round of 32. Cotton, who earned the No. 49 seed for match play, also secured an upset by defeating No. 16 seed Bethany Wu of Diamond Bar, Calif. Ganne and Cotton's match begins at 8:25 a.m., Thursday.

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