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Reid Wins at ShopRite  By Rick Woelfel

Photo Credit: 2020 Getty Images

Mel Reid’s journey through the realm of professional golf is a study in perseverance dedication, and above all, courage. The Derby, England native won six times on the Ladies European Tour and played in three Solheim Cups but was winless on the LPGA Tour despite four years of trying. That changed on Sunday when the 33-year old reached the winner’s circle at the ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer. She put together four rounds in the 60s to finish72 holes at the Seaview resort just outside Atlantic City in 19-under par 265, two shots clear of 10-year veteran Jennifer Song and LPGA rookie Jennifer Kupcho, both of whom were also seeking their first LPGA win. When her last putt fell into the cup at the final green, Reid could feel a heavy burden being lifted from her shoulders. “Yeah, 100%.” she said. “It's huge relief. You know, it's a great moment for me and my team. Yeah, I mean, just goes to show doesn't really matter what age you are. “Like, I think a lot of emphasis goes to the younger players, which I'm 100% with. At the same time, there are a lot of players who are early 30s, mid-30s, even early 40s which can still compete out here. “That is a huge relief for me being 33 years old. But being 33 years old and being able to lift this trophy when I had some young players behind me, you know, the older you get in this game you do create a few scars. ‘Yeah, just goes to show like I guess I like adversity. I don't know. I'll always be a fighter and always try and fight my way through things. I'm so happy and relieved that I got it done.” Reid had been carrying heavy load indeed. In May of 20112 her mother was killed in an auto crash in Germany while traveling to see her daughter compete in an LET event. In 2017 she joined the LPGA Tour while still playing in an occasional LET event. By 2019 she was back in form, earning over $300,000 and tying for third at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, but failed to earn a place on the European Solheim Cup team for the first time in six years.

Her win at ShopRite was another step on her journey. And while she started the final round with a one-shot cushion over Kupcho and Song, Reid knew she was in for a fight. She held a four-shot advantage standing on the 17th tee but the margin was cut in half when she missed the green at the par three while her challengers each birdied. Fittingly enough, the matter wasn’t settled until the final green. “I knew Jennifer -- well, both Jennifers were going to play well today,” Reid said. They're both very good players, very established players. So, I think me winning is very different than winning in Europe. Like I'm not going to beat around the bush here. But it's very hard to win out here. These girls are world class. “if I shot level par today I don't win, so I knew I had to play well. I kind of tried to stay in my own zone as possible. But, yeah, I mean, I honestly just got in my own bubble. I tried to get to 20-under. I thought if I got to 20-under it would be pretty hard for people to catch me, and if they did they would win the tournament. I didn't give it away. That was the number in my head. Really happy I got to 19 and got it done.” In the end, Reid’s victory at ShopRite was a testament not just to athletic talents but above all her resolve. “I mean, it just goes to show, doesn't it? No matter what life throws at you it depends how you handle it.” she said. I made a huge sacrifice moving to America, leaving my comfort zone, my friends and my family, and it's paid off. You know, I wanted to be a world class athlete, I always wanted to be a world class athlete, and to finally get the job done is a huge sigh of relief. “No matter what, people can't take away the fact that I'm an LPGA winner against a world class field. 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 happento good people. “I’m just really lost for words, to be honest with you, that I've managed to win. I knew it was always in there. Just great to finally get it done.”