England's Reid wins first LPGA title at ShopRite Classic

New York (AFP) –


England's Mel Reid won her first LPGA title on Sunday, firing a four-under par 67 to capture the ShopRite Classic by two strokes over American Jennifer Kupcho.

The 33-year-old from Derby made bogey at the par-3 17th but closed with a birdie to finish 72 holes at the Seaview resort in Galloway, New Jersey, on 19-under 265.

"Relief. It's a huge relief," Reid said. "It's so emotional."

Kupcho was next on 267 after a final-day 68 with American Jennifer Song third on 268 and Japan's Nasa Hataoka fourth on 270 after closing 69s.

Together with compatriot Georgia Hall, a winner two weeks ago at the Portland Classic, Reid's victory produced the first back-to-back LPGA triumphs by English women since Trish Johnson and Caroline Pierce in 1996.

At Portland, Reid fired a final-round 74 to squander a two-stroke lead and settled for sharing fifth while Hall took the trophy.

"I just wanted to kind of redeem myself," Reid said. "I'm proud how I handled myself."

Reid, a European Solheim Cup veteran, owns six titles on the Ladies European Tour but had not won since the 2017 Women's Victorian Open in Australia.

Reid's best prior finish in an LPGA event was a share of third in last year's Women's PGA Championship.

Kupcho, ranked 58th, had a birdie-birdie finish but could not collect her first LPGA title after turning professional last year.

Song, ranked 91st, also missed out on her first LPGA triumph in her 220th career start.

World number 74 Reid stretched her lead to three strokes with an eight-foot birdie putt at the par-3 11th to reach 18-under while Song missed a four-foot par putt and joined Kupcho on 15-under.

Reid rolled in another birdie at the par-4 12th, her fourth birdie in five holes, to reach 19-under, boosting her advantage to four shots.

Kupcho birdied the 13th to pull within three, but Reid sank a clutch 12-foot par putt at the par-3 15th and Kupcho made a three-putt bogey at the 16th, restoring Reid's four-shot edge.

Reid found the rough at the par-3 17th, chipped out to 20 feet and missed her par putt, taking a bogey and her lead was down to two shots on the 18th tee after Song and Kupcho each birdied 17 to reach 16-under.

Song, Kupcho and Reid all found the right rough on the par-5 finishing hole. Kupcho blasted onto the front of the green while Song rolled into greenside rough.

Reid smacked a 6-iron within 15 feet of the cup on the edge of the green to all-but seal the victory.

"It came out better (than I expected)," Reid said. "We figured being short was fine. Obviously was disappointed at 17. We didn't want to do anything stupid."

Kupcho missed a 50-foot eagle putt but tapped-in for birdie while Song settled for par. Reid rolled her eagle putt inches from the cup and tapped in for birdie and the victory, hugging her caddie before friends sprayed her with champagne.

Reid birdied two of the first three holes but stumbled with bogeys at the par-4 sixth, after leaving her approach in rough shy of the green, and par-3 seventh, a tap-in par putt horseshoe-ing the lip of the cup and staying out to fall one back of Song.

But Reid answered with birdies at the eighth and par-5 ninth to reclaim the lead by one on 17-under at the turn.

Kupcho stumbled with a bogey at the fourth and a double bogey at eight, but birdies at nine and 10 lifted her back into contention.