Mel Reid got off to a quick start with birdies on the first two holes of the US Women’s Open on Thursday and was the clubhouse’s first leader after scoring under 67 on the notoriously difficult lake course at the Olympic club.
England player Reid started on the 10th hole and landed her first two approach shots within 10 feet for birdies on par 4. She added birdies to No.15 and 16, another to her forward. last hole and only had one bogey the entire round.
“I didn’t think that score was there honestly,” she said. “I had a very good game plan. This is probably the best I have had for a tournament. We had a game plan and we were sticking to it. If you’re in trouble, take it out, bogey. I think the key here is not to take a lot of risks the first two, three days, and I didn’t.
Of the 78 players who took the start in the morning, only eight shot under par. Angel Yin was a header away, Yuka Saso shot 69 and the top ranked Jin Young Ko was at 70 with Marina Alex, Austin Ernst, Jennifer Kupcho and Jeongeun Lee6.
Reid, who won her first LPGA Tour title last October to accompany her six career victories on the European Tour, has had little career success at the US Women’s Open. She has missed the cup four of her previous five times at this tournament and finished tied for 50th in her other appearance in 2012.
Reid said she was helped by a few long conversations with two-time US Open men’s champion Brooks Koepka, which she carried over to the tour.
“He gave me a few things that he is following in a major, so I obviously appreciate his help,” she said. “What he told me was, I thought, priceless honestly, and it made me take a little different approach. That’s why I feel like I prepared the best.
It was the first time the women had come to the Lake Course overlooking the Pacific Ocean for a major tournament. But this place has a rich history for men, hosting among others five US Open and three US Amateurs.
The course that played 6,361 yards on Thursday has traditionally played as one of the toughest despite having no water hazards and just one fairway bunker. Only four men have beaten par at the five U.S. Open here, none of them the last two times with Lee Janzen winning evenly in 1998 and Webb Simpson a 1 in 2012.
“The par should be winning this thing, in my opinion, or close to par. I love how difficult it is, ”said Reid. “I think that makes you think, makes you create a strategy. You can’t bomb him everywhere. You really have to think about where your hiccups are. This is exactly what a US Open should be. It is an amazing golf course. As soon as I switched over here I thought this was the kind of golf course we wanted to play.
While Reid used a quick start to climb to the top of the standings, Yin finished strong with an eagle on par 5 17th and birdie on par 4 18th for a header shot. The American’s 60-foot putt of 17 helped overcome back-to-back bogeys on the top nine.
“I left so early and I was so cold I sort of fell asleep. The first nine, I was like, my God, ‘I’m so tired. Now I’m hungry, ”she said. “I didn’t hit a lot of fairways in the top nine so I think it shows on the scorecard. I think just hitting the fairways this week is essential to having a good lap. I don’t think the distance will help much because the rough is so long. You will break your wrist if you hit all at the same time.