SAN FRANCISCO – One part of Mel Reid’s game plan, unique to most players, was who she called two days before her opening round at the U.S. Women’s Open.
“Yeah, I text Brooks. I texted Brooks on Tuesday. We had a long conversation and then we FaceTimed for an hour on Tuesday night,” Reid said Thursday after shooting 4-under 67 to lead the way at The Olympic Club.
Brooks, of course, is Brooks Koepka, the four-time major champion, won back-to-back U.S. Opens in 2017 and ‘18.
“He gave me a few things that he follows by in a major,” Reid said, “so obviously appreciate his help.”
So, what did he tell her?
“No, I'm not telling you that. Good try,” Reid said with a smirk, resulting in laugher from the press-conference crowd.
Thursday, Reid stepped onto her first tee – the par-4 ninth, which the USGA is employing instead of the 10th tee, because of convenience – with no hesitation. She ripped one down the middle, stiffed her iron shot and began her round with a stress-free tap in birdie.
On the next tee, the par-4 10th, Reid hooked her ball left into the thick rough. Rough is trouble at Olympic Club, and most people expect a punch-out and a likely bogey, but what does Reid do? Muscles it out and makes her 10-footer for another birdie.
“I love the rough. That’s how a U.S. Open should be,” Reid said
Her game plan – and whether this was Koepka’s advice or not, she wasn’t saying – was simple.
“You can’t bomb it everywhere. You’ve really got to think where your misses are. There's a long, long way to go [until the end of the tournament], and if you don't pay attention, this golf course can really eat you up. Just need to stay focused,” she said.
Peak performance requires maintenance physically, technically and mentally, and Reid doesn’t shy away from how hard she works in the gym. “I do a lot of work with my physio, a lot of work with my trainer, Ken McDonald,” she said. “We know what parts of my body is weak, we work on it, and it's been paying off.”
It shows when you can make birdie from Olympic rough.
With the Solheim Cup and the Olympics coming up, Reid is playing for more than just her first major trophy this week. “I'm a big believer, if you just take control of what you can control, it takes care of itself,” she said. “Yeah, obviously, I want to play. I love representing my country. I never dreamed as a golfer I could play in the Olympics. I think it would be an absolute honor.”