SHOPRITE LPGA CLASSIC 54-HOLE LEADER REID IN FAMILIAR POSITION
It’s déjà vu for Mel Reid. She finds herself in the same position entering the final round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer as two weeks ago at the Cambia Portland Classic: the 54-hole leader. This time, she holds a one-shot advantage on the Bay Course at Seaview, A Dolce Hotel, at 15-under par overall, rather than a two-stroke margin.
“We reflected on it a lot,” said Reid, who ended in a tie for fifth at the Cambia Portland Classic. “I spoke to [my psychologist] Howard [Falco] about it quite a lot last week. I’m a pretty quick player and it kind of makes me quick on my swing. I’ll take my time tomorrow, I think. That is basically what we took away.”
Looking to become a Rolex First-Time winner, Reid is trailed closely by a pair of individuals hoping to do the same in Jennifer Kupcho and Jennifer Song. Both competitors sit 14-under overall after each fired a bogey-free 65 with six birdies on moving day in Galloway, N.J. Their 54-hole score of 199 also sets a career-best for each on the LPGA Tour.
Holding down the fort in solo fourth position is 36-hole leader Nasa Hataoka. She managed a 1-under 70 on the afternoon thanks to a closing birdie on the par-5 18th. The 21-year-old is -12 and three back of the lead. She will lead the penultimate pairing off No. 1 tee tomorrow at 10:59 a.m. EDT, joined by Kelly Tan and Ryann O’Toole, another duo both in search of their first LPGA title.
“In today’s round, putts didn’t go in so I couldn’t get into the flow of things, but I didn’t feel like I played that badly ,” said Hataoka, who hopes to join 2010 champion Ai Miyazato as the only Japanese players to win the ShopRite LPGA Classic. “I felt like my speed on the greens was a little off; I was on my line but came up short, so I’ll work on that. I’ll keep playing aggressively and try to make all the birdies.”
Canadian star Brooke Henderson fired a 6-under 65 on moving day to move from a tie for 30th into solo seventh at -10. Six players are six shots back at 9-under overall including most recent LPGA Tour winner, Georgia Hall. Defending champion Lexi Thompson is tied for 22nd with six others at -6.
It would be the first professional win for Tan since the 2019 Florida’s Natural Charity Classic, her maiden win on the Symetra Tour
REID ON THE BRINK (AGAIN) OF FIRST WIN
A three-time Solheim Cup Team Europe member, Mel Reid has now fired under par in nine of her last 10 rounds, and 37 straight holes of bogey-free golf in the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer has her on the brink of her first LPGA Tour victory, once again.
“Hopefully I have left a bit out there for tomorrow,” said Reid, who also held the 54-hole lead at Cambia Portland Classic. “Great opportunity to get it done and going to keep doing the same thing.
“I was pretty disappointed the way I handled Portland. I felt like it was in my hands, really. It’s a little bit different here. I feel like girls are going to still shoot low tomorrow. I’ve got to play well to get my hands on that trophy.”
Reid credits the work she has done with her psychologist Howard Falco as instrumental in her approach to the game both on and off the course. She also realizes the impact that this moment could have on her career.
“I started working with him before the [AIG Women’s] Open, we just clicked,” said Reid, who will head off No. 1 tee tomorrow at 11:10 a.m. EDT. “He’s been very different to any psychologist I’ve ever had. I am a quick player and I can get very, very quick. Too quick. When I’m at home, I don’t even take practice swings. I did that a couple weeks ago in Portland. Howard has understood me very well, quickly.
“It would be life changing, to be an established winner on the LPGA against the best in the world. It changes your career and your life. No matter what anyone can say, you’ve won on the LPGA.”