Ea­gle fin­ish leaves Reid two off pace af­ter a change of ap­proach

Five-un­der first round keeps Creamer in sight Trau­matic year ap­pears to be turn­ing around

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport - By Kate Rowan at the Evian Re­sort

Melissa Reid has en­dured a year of pro­fes­sional and per­sonal upheaval. Yet the many changes seemed to be ben­e­fit­ing the Derby golfer as she ended the first day of the Evian Cham­pi­onship at five un­der par, just two shots be­hind leader Paula Creamer.

Reid, 31, is build­ing mo­men­tum in the ma­jors, as she tied for third at the Women’s PGA Cham­pi­onship hav­ing failed to make the cut in four out of the five ma­jors in 2018.

Af­ter shoot­ing an ex­quis­ite bunker shot into the 18th green to give her an ea­gle, she ex­plained the shift in her men­tal ap­proach.

“My mind­set just changed,” she said. “It’s very easy to say it has changed but dif­fi­cult to do. It’s very hard to not think about miss­ing cuts when you’re miss­ing cuts. It’s very hard to try and not make a mis­take.”

Reid then added with a laugh: “I went into the PGA think­ing I could win it. I had a bet I was go­ing to fin­ish top five, which is stupid.”

As she scored a 66 in dif­fi­cult con­di­tions, with tem­per­a­tures up­wards of 93F (34C) on the banks of Lake Geneva, it looked as if she had re­dis­cov­ered a joie de vivre.

In 2012, Reid’s mother, Joy, died in a car crash as she drove to watch her daugh­ter com­pete in a tour event in Ger­many, plung­ing Reid into a dark pe­riod.

Her pub­lic com­ing out as gay last year, com­bined with a move from the UK to the golf­ing en­clave of Jupiter, Florida – also home to Rory Mcil­roy and Rickie Fowler – seems to have re­ju­ve­nated her. As has a com­plete over­haul of her team, in­clud­ing ap­point­ing close friend Brit­tany Hamil­ton.

She said: “I just made a whole bunch of changes. I knew it was go­ing to take a while to kind of catch up to it, and hope­fully I’m do­ing it at the right time of the sea­son.

“I changed coach mid­dle of last year to Jorge Parada. He’s awe­some. I’ve never seen some­one with a work ethic like that. He’s al­most too much. But he brought some­thing out in me. He re­ally taught me what work ethic is and how to make changes in your golf swing, to be un­com­fort­able and stuff.”

As well as her no­tice­able con­fi­dence around the Evian course, which has the Alps as a stun­ning back­ground, Reid was self-as­sured enough to be open about the in­equal­i­ties be­tween the men’s and women’s games.

Un­like the bulk of the com­pe­ti­tion, she opted to wear a plain white base­ball cap, as she is un­will­ing to sport a brand that will not fully sup­port her. Many fe­male play­ers will still wear hats or vi­sors with brand­ing of com­pa­nies who do not pro­vide all their equip­ment.

“I’m not go­ing to wear some­one’s hat if they’re not will­ing to sup­port me. I’m quite happy with it be­ing blank,” Reid said, adding there were “a lot” of brands that she would rather not wear.

The next best of the Bri­tons was 23-year-old Charley Hull, who did not drop a shot in her three-un­der 68 de­spite the dry un­du­lat­ing greens and gnarly rough.

Mean­while, reign­ing Women’s British Open cham­pion Ge­or­gia Hall cut a frus­trated fig­ure as she bo­geyed the fi­nal two holes to fin­ish on two un­der par. At least she had the sup­port of her boyfriend, Harry, act­ing as her cad­die.

She seemed to strug­gle on the greens in the af­ter­noon com­pared with the softer ter­rain Reid would have dealt with in the morn­ing. Fa­tigue was also a fac­tor as it took six hours for her to com­plete her round due to slow play in ear­lier groups.

Another English­woman, Meghan Maclaren, also fin­ished at two un­der. Bronte Law and Annabel Dim­mock will be anx­ious about the cut af­ter both end­ing the day one over, while Laura Davies was three over.

Mo­men­tum: Melissa Reid drives on her way to a round of 66 on the open­ing day of the Evian Cham­pi­onship in France

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