DAYTONA BEACH – This isn’t the first time Mel Reid has come to Daytona Beach looking to make a change.
Four years ago, Reid arrived at the LPGA Qualifying Tournament hoping to find some joy in what had otherwise been a terrible year. In 2012, Reid’s mother was killed in a car accident on her way to watch her daughter compete on the Ladies European Tour. She hoped earning her LPGA Tour card would provide a silver lining to what had been a one of the darkest times in her life, but Reid was unable to break 70 and failed to make the fourth round cut.
This week Reid is giving it another try.
The England native planned to return to q-school in 2015 but failed to submit her application by the deadline and was forced to wait an entire year. But Thursday the wait paid off for Reid, who opened with a three-under par, 69 to sit in a share of sixth. The top-20 finishers on Sunday will earn their card for 2017.
“This was my priority, you know especially with the tournament schedule in Europe,” Reid told LPGA.com after her round. “This is our week this week, this is what I’ve prepared for. I’ve had a semi-run of Tournaments getting into this and felt like I’ve competed pretty decently, so. Obviously this is the goal of the year, getting on the LPGA.”
The five-time winner on the LET is looking for a new challenge on the LPGA Tour and the ability to compete on a more consistent schedule than she’s been able to in Europe.
“If I’m being completely honest, I feel quite stale in Europe,” Reid said. "I feel like I’ve achieved a lot in Europe and I’ve had a rough two or three years. I now feel ready to compete on the LPGA. I feel like I want to be out here, I want to be living in America. I feel like for the first time I really want this.”
Endorsements and sponsorships have been a challenge for players chasing their dream of playing professional golf in Europe and Reid hasn’t been immune to financial struggles. While she says she’s been lucky to have a few sponsors stick with her, and even encourage her to move to the LPGA, the outcome of this week will determine Reid’s future in golf.
“I’d like to think they’d stick by me and hopefully get a few more sponsors on the way and you know, it would just be like I’d reevaluate everything. If I didn’t get my card, I would reevaluate everything again. So yeah, it’s a big week for us. We know that as a team. Just keep playing, hopefully keep playing well.”
This time, change will come for Reid. One way or the other.