Winning on the LPGA, Mel Reid said, would be a life-changing experience. Now she can finally find out exactly what that means.
Reid, 33, broke through for her first LPGA victory at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, closing with a 67 to edge Jennifer Kupcho by two strokes.
“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.
ShopRite LPGA Classic: Leaderboard
A gutsy second shot from the rough to 15 feet on the 72nd hole left Reid with three putts to claim her first victory.
“I just want to call my dad, honestly,” said a happy Reid, who tragically lost her mother Joy in a car crash in Germany eight years ago.
A number of caddies and players rushed the 18th green to drench Reid with champagne, 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.
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 began working with Falco in August, 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 of better understanding her self-worth paid off quickly.