New Jersey high school student Megha Ganne, who won the hearts of golf fans with her breakout performance at the US Women's Open, says she was thrilled to show she could hold her own alongside the game's best.
The amiable and energetic 17-year-old amateur stunned the field when she came out of nowhere to be co-leader after the first round, quickly becoming the talk of the tournament.
She proved her hot start was no fluke with solid second and third rounds but played herself out of contention early on Sunday with two double-bogies and two bogies on the front nine under challenging conditions.
"I'm going to remember this for the rest of my life," Ganne told reporters, finishing as the low amateur despite a six-over 77 in the final round.
"It's everything I've wanted since I was little, so it's just the best feeling."
Ganne received rock star treatment from the fans at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, where she tied for 14th at the 76th edition of the major.
"It was just electric. I can't thank all these fans enough. I felt like there was so much love and so much support." – Megha Ganne
"It was just electric. I can't thank all these fans enough," Ganne, who received shout-outs on social media from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and others over the past four days, said.
"They've made my week so much better than it could have been.
"I felt like there was so much love and so much support, and all of them are really excited to be out here, which is so great to see because I feel like in a small way I'm making an impact on the game, which is really cool."
Ganne said she was pleased for fellow teenager, friend and tournament champion Yuka Sosa and was encouraged that she was able to keep pace with the game's best on the brutally difficult course.
"They're the best players in the world, so it was cool to see that I was alongside them," she said.
"It was an honour."
- Rory Carroll, Reuters