There are two other Indian-American girls in the fray.

16-year-old golfer Anika Varma on Tuesday became the first-ever Indian to tee off at the US Women’s Amateur Championship, having carded a three-over 75, to make a decent start in this year’s edition of the competition, held at Woodmont Country Club’s North Course in Rockville, Maryland.

The competition began on August 3 and after two rounds of stroke play, the top 64 players will advance to the match-play portion of the championship, which will be held between August 6 and 9. Coached by Noah Montgomery who works with India’s leading star Gaganjeet Bhullar, Anika Varma struck two birdies – one on either side of the 6,553-yard, par-72 layout at the Woodmont course – en route to getting placed tied 55th after the first round.

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However, she also gave away five bogeys in challenging conditions, with players weathering some long, rough and fast greens. Meanwhile, the two other Indian-Americans – Megha Ganne of New Jersey and Gurleen Kaur of Texas – shot 71 and 78 respectively to be placed tied 7th and 102 respectively

Varma opened with a par and then had a bogey on the second and a birdie on the third before she settled down. Two more bogeys on the seventh and ninth saw her turn in two-over 38. She then endured bogeys on the 12th and 16th and a birdie in between on the par-five 15th for one-over 37 on the tougher back nine.

At the same time, Rachel Kuehn and Riley Smyth, both playing in their first Women’s Amateur, carded four-under 68s and shared the lead. 19-year-old Kuehn birdied six of her first 11 holes but ran out of birdies thereafter and bogeyed the 13th.

Anika Varma is a high school student at the Granite Bay School in Roseville. It was only last year that she migrated from India to the USA along with her family, in a bid to further her career in golf. During her stay in the US, Varma has been playing regularly on the Cactus Tour and various Ladies PGA (LPGA) tournaments. In 2019, she finished fifth at the Women’s Indian Open, a Ladies European Tour (LET) event.