England’s Melissa Reid is hoping for a fresh start at the Buick Championship starting tomorrow at Shanghai Qizhong Garden Golf Club, after warming up for the season with a tie for 36th last week in Morocco.
The Loughborough-based 28-year-old had high hopes for 2016 after finishing second on the 2015 LET Order of Merit, courtesy of her fifth win in the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open and enhanced by her second Solheim Cup appearance. Things have not quite gone to plan as she endured a wrist injury early in the year but her tie for 36th at the Lalla Meryem Cup last week was her best showing so far and she is ready to turn things around in China’s fashion capital.
“It’s my second time here. I had an injury this time last year so hopefully it’s a little different now,” said Reid, who missed the cut in the tournament when it joined the LET schedule in 2015. “I’m excited to be back here playing a golf course which I really liked last year. My caddie’s been out there already. I flew in this morning, so I’m a little bit tired, but he said the course is in fantastic condition so hopefully we can get some good practise in today and hopefully have a good week.
“I got to this tournament a little bit late and I’ve decided not to have a practice round, because I really enjoyed the course last year and feel like sometimes I have too many practice rounds. It was good to get some competition in last week in Morocco and I think that will stand me in good stead. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve heard that the condition of the course is really good and I’ve done some really good work over the last month so I’m looking forward to getting more competitive golf under my belt. This is kind of the start of our season now.”
With the likes of world no.10 Shanshan Feng defending on home soil and the addition of world no.18 Na Yeon Choi of South Korea participating for the first time, the stakes are being raised yet higher.
Choi, who has nine wins on the US LPGA Tour including the 2012 US Women’s Open, is keen to see the local sights and commented: “This is my first visit to Shanghai. I always wanted to come to Shanghai and it kind of reminds me of Seoul in Korea. I hope to go down town many times this week. I came from Korea so I don’t have any jet lag. I haven’t had time to go down town yet but if I have time I wish to go and see a lot of things.”
Last year’s LET Order of Merit winner Feng and Lin, the youngest player to win the China LPGA Order of Merit, are the Chinese players in position to represent China in the Olympic Games and both are ambassadors for the title sponsor, Buick.
Feng said: “I’m very happy to be here for the second time for the tournament to defend my title. I’m very familiar with the course and I’ll probably be reminded of what I did last year.”
Lin added: “As a home player, I’d like to do well. Over the last two weeks I was in Orlando doing some adjustments with my coach. My form is pretty solid and I expect to do well.”
Brazil’s Victoria Lovelady, who is amongst the 16 players in the field positioned to qualify for the Olympic Games, has received an invitation to play and commented: “I’m here to defend my hole in one, so girls, watch out!” as she won a Buick car for her hole in one last year.