Mel Reid enjoys 'life-changing experience' in winning ShopRite LPGA Classic

Mel Reid read a tweet on Saturday that lit a fire going into the final round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic. “She’ll choke” was the (...)

Mel Reid enjoys 'life-changing experience' in winning ShopRite LPGA Classic

Mel Reid read a tweet on Saturday that lit a fire going into the final round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic. “She’ll choke” was the prediction, and Reid said it was the best thing she could’ve seen.

“I’m going to reply to him tonight with this picture of me and the trophy and a big shh face,” said Reid.

Someone would have to come out and beat her, Reid told herself.

As it turned out, no one could. The closing scene was equal parts joy and relief.

“People have been talking about my talent for a long time,” said Reid, “but I’ve just never really got anywhere close to where I thought I would be.”

ShopRite LPGA Classic: Leaderboard

A closing 67 that featured a number of clutch moments put Reid two shots ahead of Jennifer Kupcho at 19-under 265. The ShopRite turned into a shootout between three players looking for their first victory and Reid would not be denied.

In the immediate moments after victory on the Jersey Shore, Reid said she couldn’t wait to talk to her dad.

“He was a bit more sober than I expected actually,” she said later on. “He did say he had been in the Black Swan and he said he already had two people from Korea book tables for next Sunday lunch. So, yeah, Danny is a good friend of ours. He owns the pub. Yeah, so he’s pretty happy with me right now. He’s like, I’m getting bookings left, right, and center.”

Next Sunday is the final round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the fourth major of the season. Reid, 33, said tonight’s celebrations wouldn’t be too outlandish given that she wants to practice tomorrow. Though the trophy, she pointed out, will hold quite a few beverages.

“After Portland, I wanted to redeem myself,” said Reid of the chance she let slip by two weeks ago.

A six-time winner on the Ladies European Tour and three-time Solheim Cup player (2011, 2015 and 2017), Reid trailed by one after back-to-back bogeys early on in the final round at the ShopRite but hit the gas pedal with four birdies in the span of five holes.

Former Solheim Cup teammate and vice captain Suzann Pettersen tweeted “C’mon Mel, finish like a champion!” as the Englishwoman hit the stretch with a four-stroke lead.

Both Jennifer Song and Kupcho looked like they might ace the 107-yard par-3 17th. They each posted birdie to Reid’s bogey on the penultimate hole to cut Reid’s lead to two with the reachable par-5 18th left to play.

A gutsy second shot from the rough to 15 feet on the 72nd hole left Reid with a comfortable finish.

“You put in so many hours,” said Reid, “so much sacrifice hard work into this game to have one moment like this. Just so, so happy that I managed to get it done.”

A number of caddies and players rushed the 18th green to drench Reid with champagne, which she loves, showing only a glimpse of how popular Reid’s victory is not only on the LPGA, but worldwide.

Two weeks ago, Reid slept on the overnight lead at the Portland LPGA Classic only to stumble in with a final-round 74 to take a share of fifth. Compatriot Georgia Hall went on to win in a playoff.

“I kind of felt like I almost gave it to Georgia,” said Reid, who in her talks with sports psychologist Howard Falco determined that she rushed things a bit that Sunday and hit shots she wasn’t comfortable with.

This time around, Reid looked fully in control at the Bay Course at Seaview.

“I mean, didn’t hit the ball super great so I couldn’t really expect to play as good as Mel was playing,” said Kupcho, “but I gave it my best shot with what I brought to the course today.”

Now in her fourth season on the LPGA, Reid is the ninth English player to win on the LPGA. It’s the first time since 1996 that English players won in back-to-back events (Trish Johnson and Caroline Pierce).

In 2019, Reid served as a vice captain for Catriona Matthew at the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles, having narrowly missed out on a spot on the team.

Ranked 74th heading into the ShopRite, Reid’s 2020 goals included a victory on the LPGA and a top-50 ranking. Now she’s not only in strong position for the 2021 Solheim, but in the running for the Summer Olympics too.

Reid, who lost her mother, Joy, in a car crash in 2012 while at tournament in Germany, began working with Falco the week before the AIG Women’s British Open and immediately felt comfortable, opening up about deep-rooted wounds she’d been reluctant to address. The journey to better understanding her self-worth paid off quickly.

Reid also gave enormous credit to her caddie, Ryan Desveaux, who became a third roommate with Reid and her partner since he couldn’t go back to Canada earlier this year due to coronavirus restrictions.

Reid speaks often of her team, which includes her mates back home in England. The decision to move to Florida fulltime for better weather and opportunity was a sacrifice that is only beginning to pay off.

“No matter what, people can’t take away the fact that I’m an LPGA winner against a world-class field,” said Reid. “It just goes to show you just got to keep going. Things will get tough. I will have tough years as well ahead of me. As long as you just keep your head down and doing the right things, good things will happen to good people.”

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Stewart Cink & son taste some success at Sanderson Farms Championship

JACKSON, Miss. – Stewart Cink told a reporter before the final round that he was going to have “shoot the fur off the course” on (...)

Stewart Cink & son taste some success at Sanderson Farms Championship

JACKSON, Miss. – Stewart Cink told a reporter before the final round that he was going to have “shoot the fur off the course” on Sunday, or else that would be the end of his run with son, Reagan, by his side as his caddie. Then Cink went out and made eight birdies en route to shooting 7-under 65

“Left a little fur on the course,” Cink said. “It was a Top 5 thing. I don’t want Reagan to – he’s a great caddie, he’s doing a great job, but I don’t think I want him to become a caddie. He’s just a little bit too good at doing this to where I think if he keeps going, he might find a home out here.”

Father and son teamed up two weeks ago at the Safeway Open in Napa, California, for Cink’s first victory in more than 11 years, which earned Reagan another start on the bag this week. Somewhere, veteran caddie Kip Henley, who has been Cink’s regular sidekick since the Sanderson Farms Championship last year, was sweating it out as Cink poured in four birdies and one bogey on his first nine holes on Sunday and then tacked on four more birdies on the inward nine. As Cink tapped in for 65, he looked at the scoreboard and he was currently in a share of fifth. (He has since dropped back to T-11 at 13-under 275.)

Sanderson Farms: Leaderboard | Photos

“If you had done it today, Top 5, I would have been super excited about getting out for next week,” Reagan said.

“Same here,” Stewart said.

“I’ve got a life to go get home and live,” Reagan said.

That includes a fiancé back in Atlanta and a job at Delta Airlines. Reagan graduated with a degree in industrial engineering from Georgia Tech and is ready to get back to his role on the technology product management team. If it sounds as challenging as reading putts at the Country Club of Jackson, it probably is. Cink may have finished in the top 5 this week had his putter not gone cold on the weekend, especially in the third round when he lost nearly three strokes to the field with his short stick.

Stewart Cink during the third round of the 2020 Sanderson Farms Championship at The Country Club of Jackson. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

“I concluded after yesterday that I kind of struggle on Bermuda greens a little bit,” Reagan said. “But I don’t think it was solely my fault.”

Don’t be surprised if Reagan as well as brother, Connor, don’t make guest appearances on the bag in the future. Reagan first caddied for dad at the 2013 RBC Canadian Open and also filled in at the 2015 Travelers Championship and 2016 John Deere Classic.

“Took a little hiatus,” Reagan said. “Had to mature a little bit.”

It was in August when Reagan expressed an interest in caddying for his dad at a tournament again.

“I said, ‘How about Safeway?’ ” Cink recalled.

“He did some things that really, really helped me and just — we know each other so well. He’s like a chunk out of my side that grew into a person,” Cink said. “We see shots the same way, feel the same things, and it was good to have him caddying for me. We had a good couple weeks.”

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