Mel Reid isn’t your typical LPGA rookie.
The 29-year-old Englishwoman is a six-time Ladies European Tour winner who showed American audiences what a special player she can be on a big stage before she joined the LPGA this year.
That’s what has frustrated her making the transition to the United States, until Friday’s breakout round at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.
Through a sluggish start to her American tour debut this season, Reid has been eager to make a run into contention and build some momentum to make her third European Solheim Cup team. The Americans will meet the Euros again in Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 18-20.
With a 6-under-par 65 Friday, Reid move into contention at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark., two shots behind Sung Hyun Park through the morning wave. Her round included a hole-in-one at the 11th with a 9-iron from 135 yards.
“It’s been very frustrating,” said Reid, who has missed five cuts in eight LPGA starts, including the last three in a row. “I feel like I’m a much better player than I’ve shown, but I do feel like a good result is around the corner, hopefully sooner rather than later.”
Reid has been bouncing back and forth from Europe to the United States, a travel routine she says hasn’t helped her efforts as she tries to get acclimated to LPGA life.
Reid was undefeated for the European Solheim Cup team two years ago in Germany, going 3-0-1. She also helped the Euros to victory in Ireland six years ago, and last summer she went 2-2 for a surprisingly strong English team at the UL International Crown at the Merit Club outside Chicago. She won over a lot of American fans with her second-day loss at the International Crown, when she barely lost a best-ball match playing singlehandedly against Japan’s Ai Miyazato and Haru Nomura. Playing solo because Charley Hull was unable to play because of an asthma attack, Reid took the match to the 18th hole before losing, 1 up.
“I’m a big team player, probably a better team player than an individual,” Reid said.
Reid is sitting third on the Ladies European Tour Solheim Cup points list. The top four at the conclusion of the Ricoh Women’s British Open will make the team. The European team will also be comprised of four players off the world rankings and four captain’s picks.
“I’ve never played a Solheim Cup in the United States, and I really want to do that,” Reid said. “I like the big team events.”