Mel Reid, finally does it, but who is she?
If you follow golf news at all, this week you will have seen plenty of hype around the weekends win in the Shoprite LPGA Classic for GB's own Melissa Reid.
Take some time to read those news articles and they will no doubt tell you about how the tournament played out and how Mel secured a 2 shot lead over Jennifer Kupcho to get her hands on her very first LPGA title.
What you maybe won't realise, is how long and hard the Derby girl has worked for it despite some devastating personal tragedy and subsequent setback in her career. At the age of 33, Mel has been on the professional golfing scene since 2007 and over the following 4 years has played in 70 tournaments where she secured no less than 35 top 3 places.
But tragedy struck and in 2012. On her way to watch her daughter play in the German Open in Munich, Mel's Mum, Joy, was involved in a car accident that tragically took her life and started the decline of Mel's form as she battled with her grief. A celebrated party animal, Mel's behaviour started to spiral out of control as she tried to maintain her golf career whilst dealing with such a devastating personal event.
In testimony to how popular a player Mel is on the ladies tour, she has been selected for the Solheim Cup 3 times due to her passion and team spirit and every player on the LPGA has something great to say about her. Labelled as the 'Ian Poulter' of the Solheim Cup, Mel's performances with her teammates often peaks during the competitive event against the US.
In an effort to take control of her life and golf game, two years ago Mel made the decision to move to Florida to give herself the best chance of success on the LPGA. The improved weather means much more golf play and her regular LPGA playing partners are now on hand, not to mention the reduced impact on travel. Although now far away from her home town and family, there is no doubt that this dedicated move has made a positive impact on her improving game.
In 2018, Mel also made headlines as she came out as gay. Previously afraid that reviling her sexuality as a professional golfer could affect her sponsorship, Mel finally felt she knew herself, her worth and her direction and wanted to be her whole self once and for all. Her announcement was supported and celebrated by her fellow golfing professionals and there have subsequently been occasional social media posts of her with her girlfriend together, which finally sees Mel Reid complete her personal happiness and professional focus.
Missing out cruelly just a couple of weeks before in the Cambia Portland Classic, Mel finally grasped her maiden win and now appears to be in the form that she promised when she started her career. Although, not all the bad behaviour has been left behind. Mel and her caddie celebrated a little too hard following the impressive win and she was subsequently fined by the LPGA for breaking the tour COVID-19 rules. Some things you just can't change.