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 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.”
Massive congratulations @melreidgolf on winning today for the first time on the @LPGA
— Justin ROSE (@JustinRose99) October 4, 2020
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.”
“Best kiss I ever had.” @melreidgolf | @ShopRiteLPGA pic.twitter.com/6P9bCHrNKS
— LPGA (@LPGA) October 4, 2020
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.”