MEL REID WINS FIRST LPGA TOUR TITLE AT SHOPRITE LPGA CLASSIC
The wait is over for Mel Reid. She is a LPGA Tour champion and Rolex First-Time Winner. The six-time Ladies European Tour (LET) winner and three-time European Solheim Cup Team member sealed victory at the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer with a 4-under par 67 on the Bay Course of Seaview, A Dolce Hotel, this afternoon to win by two strokes at 19-under overall.
“I’m just over the moon, so emotional. So happy for myself and my team, there is a lot more to it than just me hitting a golf ball,” said Reid. “I read a tweet yesterday and it was probably one of the only bad tweets that I got saying she’ll choke. It gave me a bit of motivation. I know it sounds stupid, but probably the best thing I could have read. I was definitely not letting that happen.
“The older you get in this game you do create a few scars. But being 33 years old and lifting this trophy when I had some young players behind me, it goes to show I guess that I like adversity. I’ll always be a fighter and try and fight my way through things. I’m so happy and relieved that I got it done.”
After a couple early birdies on Nos. 1 and 3, Reid found bogey at Nos. 6 and 7. She then closed out her opening nine with a pair of birdies to bounce back and make the turn 2-under in the final round and -17 overall, good for a one-shot lead over Jennifer Song.
Reid then dropped in a couple more birdies on Nos. 11 and 12 to give her a four-stroke advantage, with Song and Jennifer Kupcho (at that point) sitting in a tie for second at -15. After coming up short with her approach on the par-3 15th, she faced a crucial 15-foot putt for par to keep the momentum rolling in Atlantic County.
“I punched a 4-iron, but that missed on the right. It was a tough hole today and we didn’t get a great lie in the rough,” said Reid, who hit 13 greens in regulation this afternoon. “We played the percentage play, a little chip and run, and it came out a little bit hotter that I thought. That putt was missing right all day and I just willed the hell out of it to catch the right edge.
“That was a huge moment for us and probably the first time I showed emotion the whole tournament because I knew what a big putt it was. Making par there, that’s when I knew if I don’t do anything stupid this is mine.”
The runner-up finish from Kupcho ties a career-best, which she set at the 2019 Evian Championship. She recorded seven birdies in the final round, as well as two bogeys and one double bogey for a 3-under 68.
“Didn’t hit the ball super great, and couldn’t really expect to play as good as Mel was playing, but I gave it my best shot with what I brought to the course today,” said Kupcho, who finished at -17 overall. “Just looking back on this whole week, how much I fought through all the adversity I came across, I am really proud of myself and excited to go into major week.”
Meanwhile, Song held the outright advantage by one at -16 following a bogey from Reid on No. 7. With no leaderboards on the Bay Course, she never knew that was the case until after the round.
“Mel played so solid today and it was really fun to watch,” said Song, who set a 72-hole career-best on the LPGA with her 16-under 268 performance at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. “I had no clue where I was; I was just playing one shot at a time. I definitely left a lot of birdies out there, so I’m kind of disappointed. Overall, I’m very happy because I think every week I am getting better.”
Nasa Hataoka and Nelly Korda finished at -14 and -12, respectively, rounding out the top five. Four players ended in a tie for sixth at -11, including nine-time LPGA Tour winner and 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner Brooke Henderson.
RYANN O’TOOLE INTO KPMG WOMEN’S PGA CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD
Ryann O’Toole started the week as second alternate for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, but had booked her travel already thinking she was in the event. As a competitive person, O’Toole said she wasn’t comfortable waiting on things to fall into place and wanted to play her way into the event with a win at the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer.
On Saturday, when Lee-Anne Pace withdrew from the third LPGA major of the season, O’Toole was bumped to the first alternate. She finished in a tie for sixth in Jersey, but with winner Mel Reid already exempt next week, the last spot in the field goes to O’Toole.
“I was looking like, ‘Okay, who is possible to win that isn't going to take that spot?’” said O’Toole. “So it was sitting pretty nicely, at least I get to ensure I'm playing next week. I'm happy about that.”
O’Toole said she has never played Aronimink Golf Club, but is excited to get to the course after hearing glowing remarks from #LPGAMom Brittany Lincicome, who was able to play the course on Saturday.
“I'm just happy to be playing, going into this week realizing I'm not in the event. Shame on me for not playing great and all of a sudden, wait a second, I'm an alternate,” O’Toole said. “That was a shock and I was pretty bummed about that, but obviously kicked things into gear for me. To have that opportunity to now be playing and not sitting waiting, not hoping bad on anybody, but hoping I get to play, I'm glad I can just start the week with the intention of playing.”
CME GROUP CARES CHALLENGE—SCORE 1 FOR ST. JUDE
The CME Group Cares Challenge is a season-long charitable giving program that turns aces into donations. CME Group donated $20,000 for each hole-in-one made on the LPGA Tour in 2019, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $500,000 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which is leading the way in how the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and life-threatening diseases.
Brittany Altomare made the eighth hole-in-one of the 2020 LPGA Tour season on Thursday, finding the bottom of the cup on No. 17 with a pitching wedge from 108 yards. The eight aces on the 2020 season means a total of $160,000 has now been donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital this year.
The 2019 LPGA Tour season saw 32 total aces from 31 different competitors for a total of $620,000. That more than covers the average cost of $425,000 needed to treat a pediatric cancer patient.
U.S. WOMEN’S OPEN QUALIFYING UPDATEThere were two spots available this week at the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer to qualify for the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open from Dec. 10-13 at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas. The following two players—Mel Reid and Jennifer Song—in the top-10 had not yet qualified for the season’s final major and they punched their ticket with a championship-like performance this week on Bay Course at Seaview, A Dolce Hotel, in Galloway, N.J.
The top two players—not otherwise exempt—that finished in the top-10 and ties of the 2020 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, Cambria Portland Classic and ShopRite Classic, as well as the top three players in the top-10 and ties of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, not otherwise exempt, earn a spot in the U.S. Women’s Open field.
Individuals that have qualified so far through this criteria in 2020 include Jenny Shin and Katherine Kirk, with tied for fifth and tied for seventh finishes at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, respectively; Ashleigh Buhai and Yealimi Noh thanks to a runner-up and tied for third result, respectively, at Cambia Portland Classic. Reid and Song now join this bunch as part of the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open field.