Mel Reid will not only have her eyes fixated on the US Women’s Open trophy and the $1 million first prize these next four days. At the appropriately named Olympic Club, the Englishwoman also intends to guarantee herself a spot at this summer’s Tokyo Games.
Reid, 33, makes no secret of her desire to represent Team GB. She missed out on Rio in 2016 but now, in the midst of her second coming in the game’s elite, is on the brink of qualification. With only four weeks remaining until the cut-off point, Reid is the top-ranked Briton as world No 33 and with two places up for grabs is, in her own words, “in a great position”.
But she also acknowledges that with two majors taking place in the qualification run-in – the Women’s PGA Championship is the last counting tournament – the picture could change dramatically, with Charley Hull, ranked 37th, Georgia Hall (47th) and Jodi Ewart Shadoff (82nd) also in the San Francisco field.
“I’ve just got to keep my head down and keep doing what I can control,” Reid said. “But I’d be lying if I said I’ve not been thinking about it. As someone who grew up as a multi-sport athlete, it would be a cool achievement to play in the Olympics. It’s been on my radar since golf got back in for the 2016 games. I see it as a great opportunity to grow the game. I’m all in.”
There is no doubt that Reid is the UK’s form player as the country seeks to end the 24-year void in the event regarded as the biggest in the female game. Since winning the ShopRite Classic in October – her first US title – Reid has racked up five top 15s on the LPGA Tour, including a tie for ninth at last week’s LPGA Match Play. The temperatures are decidedly chilly in San Francisco and the conditions are severe, which surely suits the Derbyshire product.
“It’s an unbelievable course and this is how a US Open should be – really tough. If you shoot even par around here, you’ve got a really good chance,” Reid said. “The last time the guys played the US Open here, Webb Simpson won with one over [in 2012}. It’s a great test. But with the weather… well, I live in Florida now. Still, I grew up in much worse conditions than this and I’ll be trying to remember that.”