Star on the Rise at Q-School

RSS

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ' Daytona Beach is a Mecca for race fans, bikers and spring breakers. This week its my place of work. Im here covering the final stage of LPGA Q-School, an annual event, which if truth be told, nobody wishes to play. Its a grueling five rounds where careers are on the line, nerves jangle and dangle, and come weeks end the LPGA will welcome a bunch of new members, eager to make their fortunes ' many of whom will wind up back here in 12 months doing it all again.
 
The ladies have come from far and wide. The United States is well represented, as you would expect, so too South Korea. It doesnt end there, though: Thailand, Australia, Mexico, Canada, and the list continues ' this is an international affair. Europe can also boast its fair share of players as well; although with its own tour, the need for making it through this extravaganza isnt as pressing as those whove made the trip from South America, for instance.
 
melissa reid
Photo courtesy of EWGA
One of the more notable Europeans in the field this week is 21-year-old Melissa Reid, from Derby in the midlands of England.
 
Reid has been playing on the Ladies European Tour this season. She turned pro at the end of 2007 having had a stellar amateur career, capped-off by a British Stroke-Play title and the Smyth Salver awarded to the leading amateur at the Ricoh Womens British Open.
 
In 2008 Reid entered the pro ranks with a bang, leading the tours Ryder Cup Wales Rookie of the Year race with just one event remaining next week. Reid will have to withdraw from the seasoning-ending Dubai Masters if she makes her card at LPGA Q-School this week. The tour requires all rookies to attend a two-day LPGA seminar on Monday and Tuesday next week.
 
Mel has done everything but win in 2008. She is a three-time runner-up on the LET and should have taken home the Nykredit Masters in September. A birdie-eagle-eagle finish to Saturdays round left Reid six clear of a field which included Annika Sorenstam. Sunday, though, Reid learned the hard way, missing a 5-foot birdie putt on the final green which would have put her in playoff. She settled for a 73 and another runner-up spot.
 
The winner in Denmark, Martina Eberl, is also here this week. Like Reid she had to come through the pre-qualifying in September, beating the English woman by two strokes over the four-round event at Mission Hills in California. But this week, its not winning that counts, but doing enough. The top 20 will gain cards at weeks end.
 
Reid has made headlines in the UK for her work with former England Rugby team boss Sir Clive Woodward. The pair got together after Melissas coach Lawrence Farmer asked his friend Woodward to help Melissa realize some of her tremendous potential. Woodward now happens to be the British Olympic Associations Director of Performance, and he chose Reid to be a live example for some of the techniques he was using to bolster the British Olympic teams performance.
 
Its an odd combination considering golf isnt even in the Olympics, but Woodward believes golf training is no different than any other sport. Everything I have done with her would be no different to what I would do with a boxer, judo player, swimmer or any world-class athlete he said earlier this year. The pair has been working together for around two years and the progress is evident.
 
A place on the LPGA for Reid next season would be a nice jump up the ladder of womens golf. She would still be exempt in Europe in 2009 and could set a great schedule and be a true world player. With preference given to LPGA players in two of the years four majors, having LPGA status is essential for Reid if she wants to rise to the lofty goals which Woodward has set for the young star.
 
Email your thoughts to Tom Abbott