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Mel Reid earns her first tour victory at ShopRite LPGA Classic

After falling behind briefly, Reid carded four birdies in a five-hole stretch midway through her round to take a 4-stroke lead and secure her first tour victory.

Mel Reid celebrates after winning the Shop Rite LPGA Classic tournament, Sunday, Oct 4, 2020, in Galloway, NJ. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
Mel Reid celebrates after winning the Shop Rite LPGA Classic tournament, Sunday, Oct 4, 2020, in Galloway, NJ. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)Read moreNoah K. Murray / AP

GALLOWAY, N.J. — Mel Reid has enjoyed much success overseas, having won six Ladies European Tour events and playing on three Solheim Cup teams, but she always wanted to break through on the LPGA Tour.

The 33-year-old native of Derby, England, achieved her dream Sunday, establishing control with four birdies over a five-hole stretch on the Bay Course at Seaview Hotel and Golf Club and playing solidly the rest of the way for a 2-stroke victory in the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

Reid closed with a 4-under-par 67 — her 10th subpar score in her last 11 rounds — and finished 72 holes at 19-under 265 for the first win of her four-year LPGA career.

“It changes your life, obviously,” she said. “These are the best players in the world. The LPGA is, in my opinion, the tour you want to be on if you want to be the best in the world. So to win out here, people look at you a little bit differently. It’s tough to win out here, I can tell you that, so to get it done is just a huge relief. Obviously, I’m ecstatic.”

The win on a cool, breezy day near the Jersey Shore proved to be a sweet one for Reid, and not only because she could leave with the $195,000 first-prize check.

Reid had a chance to capture that elusive first victory two weeks ago at the Cambia Portland (Ore.) Classic, where she entered the final round leading by two but shot 74 and finished tied for fifth. She said she and her team reflected on what happened last week, and her mindset and her game were strong Sunday.

“I just wanted to redeem myself from Portland,” she said while still drying out from a champagne shower that players and friends had given her on the 18th green after her final putt. "I felt like that was really good for me.

“I had not been in contention for such a long time, and never out here. So we’ve just been doing a lot of really good stuff the last six weeks and trying to make progressions. Even in Arkansas when I missed the cut, I felt like I was making progress, it was weird. So yeah, I’m just over the moon. I’m just so happy for myself and my team.”

» READ MORE: ShopRite LPGA Classic carries on in pandemic with a smaller purse and no fans

Reid, who entered Sunday with a 1-stroke lead over Jennifer Kupcho and Jennifer Song, ran into her first real trouble of the week at No. 6, where she missed the green and saw her streak of 42 straight holes without a bogey end. She also bogeyed the par-3 seventh with a 3-putt and fell behind Song by one.

But Reid then exhibited the high level of play that marked much of her weekend. She birdied the eighth from 10 feet and 2-putted the par-5 ninth for another birdie. After an 8-foot birdie putt at the par-3 11th, she made a sensational birdie at No. 12 after driving into a fairway bunker, sinking a 15-footer to get to 19-under and a 4-shot lead.

An 18-foot par putt at No. 15 enabled her to stay 19-under. She made things a little interesting by missing the green and making bogey at the short 107-yard 17th while Kupcho and Song each birdied to cut the margin to two. However, she steadied herself on the par-5 18th, reaching it in two and 2-putting for the win.

Kupcho, 23, a second-year LPGA Tour player, shot a 68 and captured second place at 267. Song was another shot back at 268 after a 69. Nasa Hataoka also carded a 69 for 270 and fourth place and Nelly Korda’s 66 earned her fifth at 272.

Most of the players who competed now head to Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, an LPGA major, beginning Thursday.