There will not be a dry eye in the Turnberry house today should Melissa Reid convert her opportunity at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
Reid stood three over for the tournament after six holes yesterday after shipping four strokes to par, but a stunning recovery that concluded with an eagle birdie finish for a 69 left her within four of the lead on four under par.
Reid almost quit twice since the death of her mother, Joy, three years ago in a car accident while attending a tournament in Germany. It was only at a training camp in Dubai at the back end of last year that she felt able to commit her future to the game.
Victory at the Turkish Airlines Open in early summer this year, reprising her maiden professional win in 2010, was a significant sign that she was playing her way back to happiness. Victory tomorrow would be utter vindication of the decision to carry on.
“It’s been a difficult journey,” she said. “I’ve been playing well and feeling that I’m coming out of it now. It is nice to perform like this in a big event. I have lots of friends and family here so that’s nice.
“It was not the best start. The weather was really tough. I was four over without playing badly. My aim was to get back to level, so to do what I did was a bonus. I’m not too far off. If I can just sort out the first few holes I have a chance. My putter feels good. I’m just going to go out there and give it my best shot.”
Reid is one of two Britons in the top 10, a shot clear of Amy Boulden. The 22-year-old from Llandudno, in only her second year as a pro, shot a 68, the low score of another weather-beaten day on the west coast of Scotland. Boulden had not set foot on the Ailsa course before the media day to promote the event in April. In the worst of the conditions yesterday she looked like she had never played anywhere else.
That is what an upbringing in North Wales does for you, four seasons in one day, etc. Boulden hails from a golfing family. Her father and sister are teaching pros. Her mother is the worst golfer in the house and she plays off five.
You might say she was born to this game, especially when the wind gets up as it did in the early afternoon and the squalls blow in off the Atlantic. To limit her card to only one dropped shot was a triumph of considerable proportions.
The wind turbines on the peaks were in danger of taking off in the worst of the gusts.
The leaderboard, colonised as it is by Asian women, is a triumph for Oriental golf. Eight of the top 11 players are either Asian-born or of Asian origin, three with South Korean roots, including joint leader Jin Young Ko, world No 1 Imbee Park and No 2 Lydia Ko, a veteran at 18.
Though the women cannot compete with men off the tee, from 100 yards in they share the same lethal attributes of accuracy and nerve, especially the sisters of South Korea, battle hardened on the LPGA of Korea Tour, which is contested entirely by native women.
It was a tough day for England’s Charley Hull, 19, who racked up a triple bogey seven at the ninth en route to a 77. Hull can’t have been helped by having a Republican presidential candidate for company for part of her round. Donald Trump is hardly a good luck charm and he does not blend in to the background.
“Hit it good again today, just some silly course management mistakes, but feeling good,” Hull said on her Twitter feed, begging the question whether playing in front of the Don was one of those errors? She was either polite enough to exclude a reference to Trump, or, far more likely, had no idea who he was and had still less interest.
The day finished in glorious sunshine, the scene looking west towards Ailsa Craig in the Firth of Clyde was on the Caribbean side of idyllic. Not that there was any compensation in the view for overnight leader Suzann Petterson, who could not advance her position and remains seven under after a round of 72.
Petterson sets out today in the penultimate group one behind the leaders. Reid plays alongside Lydia Ko, and Boulden with So Yeon Ryu. They are all chasing Jin Young Ko and Teresa Lu of Taiwan.Reuse content