At this week’s U.S. Women’s Amateur, held at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash., teen sensation Megha Ganne of Holmdel, N.J. was looking for some help. She needed a caddie with some local knowledge to get her around the dunescape and rolling fairways of the links-style layout.
And she found just the right person.
Joel Putnam is a longtime caddie at Chambers Bay, with a longtime connection to the game of golf. He is the older of the Putnam brothers, with younger brothers Michael and Andrew both spending time on the PGA TOUR. The Putnams are natives of Tacoma.
Michael and Andrew each won the prestigious Pacific Coast Amateur – Michael in 2004, and Andrew in 2010. Andrew was named the WA Golf Men’s Player of the Year in 2010.
When Michael played on the PGA TOUR, Joel was right beside him as his caddie.
Although Michael is no longer a regular player on the big tour, Andrew is a steady presence there, having one win, and earlier this year finished T6 in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Joel connected with Megha Ganne through Bruce Charlton, the president and chief design officer of Robert Trent Jones II Architects, the firm that designed Chambers Bay. Charlton knew the Ganne family, and knew they were looking for someone to shepherd Megha around Chambers Bay.
Ganne became something of sensation at the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open. At the time, she was a 17-year-old high school student, an amateur competing against the biggest names in women’s golf. She held a share of the lead after the first round in that championship, and was tied for third going into the final round. She ultimately finished T14, claiming low amateur honors for the championship.
Although Megha made the match-play bracket in this U.S. Women’s Amateur, she ultimately lost her first match, in the round of 64, in 19 holes to Julia Gregg of Farmers Branch, Tex.
Ganne will be a freshman in the fall, playing for the women’s golf team at Stanford University. And you will find Putnam looping the fairways at Chambers Bay.
– Tom Cade, Editor