With her 1st tour victory behind her, the Englishwoman seeks a bigger prize this week at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – Winning can be exhausting.
That’s what Mel Reid found after her first victory on U.S. soil last week, at the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Galloway, N.J.
It was a popular triumph on both sides of the Atlantic for the Englishwoman. After a small celebration in a nearby restaurant on the Jersey Shore with her partner, Carly Grenfell, and caddie Ryan Desveaux, Reid acknowledged that she got into some trouble with the LPGA for violating the tour’s COVID-19 protocols.
After paying an undisclosed fine from her $195,000 winnings, Reid came to suburban Philadelphia this week with a realistic chance to win a major championship.
“It wouldn't have been me if I didn't get in trouble,” Reid said of her celebration in a restaurant that was closed to accommodate Reid’s party. “I mean, I obviously took it a little bit easier than I probably would have done normally.”
Reid steps onto Aronimink Golf Club, site of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, fatigued from her first LPGA victory but eager for a major title.
She sees a par-70, 6,577-yard golf course that will be long and demanding when play starts Thursday (tee times). Many of the competitors would like to see it play a little shorter, but Reid likes what she calls the “Beast” and wants to see Aronimink play as Donald Ross intended when he created the 1928 design, which was renovated by Gil Hanse in 2017.
“I hope they don’t move the tees up,” Reid, who ranks 18th on the tour in driving distance, at 264.4 yards, said of the setup. “It’s playing long for even me.”
Reid recognizes that in a major championship, scores such as her winning 19-under total last week won’t happen. Anything under par likely will contend at Aronimink.
She understands it’s a minority opinion about playing the course long, with many of the players unable to reach some of the par 4s in regulation.
The other concern about how the course plays is that with shorter daylight hours, interminable round times could force the tournament into a Monday finish.
“You’ve got to get fresh,” Reid said. “It’s so challenging and so demanding, you’ll be absolutely shattered after every round. If you miss a shot here, you’re making bogey or double; there’s no question about it.”
Since missing the cut at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in late August, Reid has been trending in the right direction. She tied for seventh at the ANA Inspiration, then added a T-5 one week later at the Cambia Portland Classic before her breakthrough victory.
Reid, 33, concedes that she has not done anything different with her swing or her practice regimen, but six weeks ago started working with Howard Falco, a spiritual teacher and peak-performance coach. The mental work has aligned with her recent success.
“He's kind of just been the missing piece to the puzzle,” Reid said of the Phoenix-based Falco. “Don't really feel like I've practiced or played that much different, which sounds silly, but it's just a few kinds of mental errors that I knew I was making that he's kind of rectified and he's made me aware of, I should say.”
Full of confidence and a game that has worked in competition, Reid is excited to tee it up on Thursday.
And with cool and windy conditions forecast, Reid and the other 131 players likely will have to add more clothing than usual and find that the ball will not fly as far as it would in warmer weather, compounding Aronimink’s challenge.
“It's adapting, isn't it?” Reid said of the next four days. “It's what it's all about. And, yeah, just be disciplined with your club selection. Your 7-iron is going to go 10 to 12 yards less, and it's just about being disciplined and choosing that club.”
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