It’s a big year for Melissa Reid with The Solheim Cup at the forefront of her thoughts as she begins her 2011 campaign in Australia.
The Ladies European Tour season launched with the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open at Commonwealth Golf Club in Melbourne last week, where Reid shot an impressive final round of five-under 68 to share second place with Eun Hee Ji and the World No.1 Jiyai Shin.
She and Shin now share the early lead on the 2011 Henderson Money List and Reid wants to keep her momentum going at this week’s ANZ RACV Ladies Masters at RACV Royal Pines Resort in Queensland, the second event on the LET schedule.
Last year, the 23-year-old Derbyshire player missed the cut at the event, before securing her maiden professional win at the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open.
She added 10 top-10 finishes over the season to sit third on the Henderson Money List overall with season’s earnings of more than 270,000 Euros, but she feels her best is yet to come.
“It’s a massive year again this year with Solheim, so my aim is to get my world ranking as high as possible and to be competing for trophies in the latter stages of as many tournaments as I can. I plan to be the best player in the world and that will always be my aim.”
Reid acknowledges that she must stay patient and focused if she is to make her fourth season on the Ladies European Tour her best yet. The plan is to keep her eyes off the prize come Sunday and that approach seemed to work in Melbourne.
“I think I just get ahead of myself, I am very impatient and that is one of my downfalls: that I am not a very patient person at all, I never have been and you know I am thinking of picking up the trophy before I have even teed off,” she admitted.
“That is one thing I remember doing really well in Turkey and that is stay in the present and it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But you know, I did learn a lot last year and 18 holes is a long way, whether it is a one shot lead or six shot lead, it is a huge amount and I just have to focus on Sundays.”
Reid was twice a runner-up last year and finished in the top-five places on three other occasions, including third place at the season-ending Omega Dubai Ladies Masters. She now hopes to convert those finishes into victories.
“Last year I put myself into contention quite a lot of times. The two people, Laura and Pacey, that beat me, both won five times, so to come third obviously showed my consistency throughout the year. I still feel like I put myself in contention a lot and I really should have finished off a few more tournaments than what I did. I was a little disappointed the way I played on Sundays, but at the same time I learnt a lot from last year and feel a little more mature this year, so hopefully we can convert a few of them,” she said.
She still feels there is room for improvement. “I still feel a little rusty, I feel me and my coach David, did a lot of good work with my coach in the winter, tightened a few things up but I haven’t been able to work on it because of the weather at home. I went to Dubai for a few days before going out went to Canberra but I am still working on it obviously, so when I get home I will have a good three weeks to kind of bed in the swing and a bit more of the short game.
“I don’t particularly like a particular movement in my swing, I’m trying to get a lot more compact, so basically I can have a week or two off during the season , I can come back and hit the ball good, or a lot better than what I do at the minute, so we can focus on other things like short game and pitching and all that area instead of me having to try and sometimes find my rhythm, which is kind of like a ball bashing situation, so instead of doing that I want to focus on other things.”
The event will be held from 10-13 February and has attracted an exceptionally strong field of 144 competitors, including Karrie Webb, who has won the title seven times. The tournament will continue its tradition of showcasing the finest golfing talent as well as emerging stars, such as American teen Alexis Thompson, who will celebrate her 16th birthday on Thursday.
Network Ten and One HD will broadcast the ANZ RACV Ladies Masters on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th February between the hours of 2pm and 6pm.