Emotional victory for Melissa Reid
England’s Melissa Reid held her overnight lead to record an emotional victory at the Raiffeisenbank Prague Golf Masters on Sunday.
Reid, playing in her first tournament back since the tragic death of her mother, Joy, in a car accident in Germany four weeks previously, maintained her composure right until she holed her winning putt on 18.
Needing to hole a six-footer for par to seal a one stroke victory over Italian Diana Luna, she calmly rolled it in before letting the tears flow and being embraced by friends and fellow competitors on the 18th green.
“To be honest I wasn’t that nervous. I think with something like what’s happened to my family and me the last four weeks nothing really seems that difficult anymore,” said Reid, who finished on a nine under par total of 207, after rounds of 68, 67 and 72. “I spoke to my coach when I went back a couple of weeks after and he said to me, ‘I don’t know when it’s going to be, but this will make you a stronger person,’ and my best friends have said that as well and I honestly think it will.
“It will make me fight and nothing will seem as bad as what I’ve been through, so yeah, I actually felt very calm and I knew I was going to hole the putt on 18.”
Reid started the final round with a one shot lead over Italian Stefania Croce and had a shaky front nine with a bogey at the third for an outward total of one over 37.
However, she fought off the challenge of several other contenders with two birdies at holes 12 and 17 against one bogey at the 14th on the back nine.
Tied for the lead with Croce, Australian Rachel Bailey, Frenchwoman Joanna Klatten and Italian Diana Luna at various points during the day, most fell back down the stretch, playing in a tricky, swirling breeze, but under sunny skies.
Bailey (66) ended in a share of third with England’s Rebecca Hudson (71), while Klatten (67) and Australian Stacey Keating (72) tied for fifth. Croce had a 77 and slipped back into a share of 16th.
Luna moved a stroke ahead at nine under after Reid missed a short putt on 14, but then the Italian three-putted from long range on 16 to draw level again.
Tied for the lead with Luna after 16 holes, Reid birdied 17 just as Luna had posted the clubhouse lead at eight under and the supporting gallery sent out a jubilant roar across the Albatross Golf Resort.
“I would say it’s the toughest hole on the golf course and I hadn’t really been committing that much all the way round. I probably got a little bit tense and was wanting to win a little bit too much,” Reid said. “Literally Johnny, my caddie, just said, ‘let this one go’ and I absolutely nailed it down the middle, stiffed a 52 and then the same on 18. I hit a pretty good drive, got a bit unlucky and then hit a great second shot on 18 too actually: it just went on a little bit too much. I’m very happy to win.
“I just putted really bad. I got a little bit unlucky and got a few bad kicks on my drives but all in all, I didn’t hit it that bad really, I hit it about average, but I just didn’t hole anything until pretty much 17 and 18 which were the only two putts I holed really, so it was just nice to do it in that way and I’m just over the moon I’ve won.”
This was Reid’s first competitive event since the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open six weeks previously. She was due to play at the UniCredit Ladies German Open presented by Audi before her parents, who were visiting the event to watch her compete, were injured in a car accident on the Tuesday evening and her mother passed away the following day.
On collecting her fourth LET victory, Reid added: “Obviously it’s very special with what the family and stuff has been through the last four weeks, so you know, hopefully, obviously it is good news to the family and will bring a smile on our faces at such a horrible time, so it means a lot.”
This was the first time that Reid had won a tournament having led going into the final round.
She will now return home to the UK before competing at the US Women’s Open in a fortnight’s time.
207 - Melissa Reid (ENG) 68 67 72
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