England’s Curtis Cup star Melissa Reid played sensational golf to win the Helen Holm Scottish women's open amateur stroke-play championship at Troon for the second year in row.
Her second round in the international 54-hole competition was a course record 12-under par 63 at Troon Portland, a career best which included a hole in one, two more eagles and seven birdies.
“It was just so good,” said Melissa, 19, who plays at Chevin in Derbyshire. “It gives you so much confidence to know you can play like that and that your ability is that good.”
Her score leapfrogged her up the leaderboard, from five behind the pace-setter, Rachel Bell, from Ganton, Yorkshire, to six ahead of her England colleague. Rachel had set a course record 65 in the first round – which was to last for only 24 hours!
The final round was played on Royal Troon’s championship links where a very strong and very cold east wind blew across the course and pushed the CSS up to 77, two above the par.
The round quickly developed into a battle royal between the two English golfers, who were playing together. Melissa, who prefers to come from behind, found the wind tricky and also struggled on the greens where she notched up six three-putts during the round.
By the time they reached the 8th the two players were level pegging. “I’d had four three-putts and was three over, Rachel was three-under and we were all square,” said Melissa. “But I knew I was hitting it well and I knew if I could calm down and make solid pars on the next couple of holes I would be OK. I did that and Rachel dropped a couple – and it gave me a breathing space.”
She kept a two shot advantage until the last hole where her par was good enough to move her a shot further ahead. Her final total of 14-under-par 211 equalled the tournament low record set by Emma Duggleby from Yorkshire in 2004.
Melissa has an excellent record in defending titles. As well as this success she twice won the English girls’ championship and has captured the prestigious scratch event, the Whittington Trophy, for three years in a row.
She’s only the second player to successfully defend the Helen Holm, after Muriel Thomson, now professional at Portlethen Golf Club, in 1975 and 1976. “I always like to defend a trophy, I just go to a tournament with a little bit more confidence,” said Melissa.
In addition, she paired up with Kerry Smith, another Curtis Cup player from Waterlooville in Hampshire, to win the team prize for England, by seven shots from Scotland.
Now, Melissa, Kerry and Ganton’s Naomi Edwards are off to South Africa for the Commonwealth Tournament which is played from 7-11 May. The Great Britain team is completed by Breanne Loucks of Wales and Krystle Caithness of Scotland.
“All the girls played well (at the Helen Holm) and everyone should go away feeling confident,” said Melissa. “I really think we can win, we’ve got a fantastic team and a fantastic captain.”
Par 225 (3 x 75). CSS 74 74 77. First two rounds Troon Portland; final round Royal Troon.
214 R Bell (Ganton) 65 74 75.
220 J Wilson (Strathaven) 70 73 77, C Afonso (France) 73 70 77.
221 C Hedwall (Sweden) 77 66 78, H MacRae (Dunblane New) 70 70 81.
222 K Caithness (St Regulus) 76 73 73, A Vilatte (France) 69 79 74.
223 C Lennarth (Sweden) 69 73 81, D Montgomery (The Lambourne) 70 75 78.
224 M Bernard (France) 74 74 76, K Smith (Waterloovile) 72 73 79, R
Connor (Manchester) 72 73 79, E Duggleby (Malton & Norton) 75 70 79.
225 P Pretswell (Bothwell Castle) 74 76 75, L Herman (Belgium) 71 78 76.
226 C Wolf (Austria) 77 71 78, B Harries (Haverfordwest) 78 69 79.
228 L Gustafsson (Sweden) 75 76 77, N Edwards (Ganton) 76 75 77, N
Muehl (Austria) 76 73 79, E Alonso (France) 72 76 80, D Smith (Co
Louth) 72 76 80, C Lee (West Lancs) 72 76 80, H Barwood (Knowle) 71
229 H Aitchison (The Bedfordshire) 80 75 74, E Sheffield (Newark) 71
80 78, R Svahn (Finland) 74 75 80, E Moffat (St Regulus) 75 73 81, S
Stubbs (Shifnal) 76 72 81, R W Thomas (Vale of Glamorgan) 72 75 82.
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A Gutsy performance from both sides