Lexi Thompson and Megha Ganne. Pix: USGA
June 6: Megha Ganne stayed in contention with a round of 72 that placed her Tied-3rd after the third round of the US Women’s Open at the Olympic Club. The 17-year-old. New Jersey based amateur, who is of Indian parentage, has now shot rounds of 67-71-72 for a total of 3-under 210 and is four shots behind the leader, Lexi Thompson (66).
Lying second is 36-hole leader Yuka Saso, who bogeyed her final hole to settle for an even-par 71 on the 6,338-yard Lake Course.
Ganne, four back, is tied with 2019 champion Jeongeun Lee6 (73). Shanshan Feng (2-under; 211), Nasa Hataoka (212) and Megan Khang (212) are the only other competitors in red figures at a venue that has produced just four under-par scores over 72 holes in the five U.S. Opens that have been contested here.
Thompson, just 26, is playing her 15th straight US Women’s Open since she first teed off at the Championship in 2007 at the age of 12, when she came through the qualifiers. Yet, this is the first time she is holding the lead after any round. Thompson’s bogey-free 66 was her career-best round in this championship. She is 7-under 206 for 54 holes.
Ganne, 17, is the youngest to play the weekend, while Lee-Anne Pace, 40, of South Africa, is the oldest.
The four toughest holes this week are on Olympic’s front nine. Ganne, has been nearly flawless on that section of the Lake Course, going 23 consecutive holes without a bogey or worse before registering a 5 on the par-4 sixth on Saturday, the last competitor in the field to sustain an outward-nine blemish.
Thompson, an 11-time winner on LPGA Tour has not won since the 2019 ShopRite Classic. She does have a major (2014 ANA Inspiration) but if she were to win, she would become the sixth player to capture both the U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Girls’ Junior titles, joining a stellar group that includes World Golf Hall of Famers Mickey Wright, Hollis Stacy, Amy Alcott and Inbee Park, as well as Ariya Jutanugarn.
Thompson hit 13 of 18 greens and needed only 27 putts. Thompson went out in 3-under 32 with birdies on Nos. 4, 7 and 9, drained a 21-footer on the 415-yard, par-4 14th hole and just missed a 9-footer for eagle on the uphill, 490-yard, par-5 17th. She closed with a tidy up-and-down par from greenside rough.
“It helps just to have that experience,” said Thompson, whose four top-10 U.S. Women’s Open finishes include a tie for second two years ago at the Country Club of Charleston and a T-5 in 2018 at Shoal Creek.
Saso is playing for history, vying to match Inbee Park as the youngest champion at 19 years, 11 months, 17 days. She would also become the first player from the Philippines to win this championship and the second from her nation to capture a USGA title, joining 2014 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Princess Mary Superal.