If there is a home away from home for Melissa Reid, Melbourne may be that place. The 26 year-old professional from Derby, England has been a familiar face on Australian shores in recent years and loves Melbourne s sandbelt layouts. In five starts at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, her lowest finish is a tie for 16th. She has finished in the top 3 in three of those years. In two weeks&apos time, she&aposll return to Melbourne. It’s always nice coming back to somewhere you love playing and Melbourne is definitely my favourite place to play in the world. I&aposve always felt very welcomed there and I just love the courses. I&aposve never played Victoria but I am very much looking forward to seeing it, Reid told womensausopen.com from Christchurch. The last 18 months, however, have been an entirely different story. Reid didn t travel to Australia in early in 2013 as the multiple Ladies European Tour winner tried to come to terms with the death of her mother in a tragic car accident in Germany in 2012. Reid&aposs parents, Brian and Joy, were involved in a head-on collision in Dachau, near Munich as they travelled back to their hotel while their daughter was preparing to compete in the UniCredit Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour. Mr Reid survived the crash, but his 62-year-old wife died the following day in hospital from her injuries. Players wore black armbands as a mark of respect during the tournament. My mum was the biggest part of my support team on and off the course so it&aposs tough, Reid said. It has definitely changed my outlook on life. I always took things for granted – it&aposs a shame something like that makes you realise that but unfortunately it does. It&aposs definitely brought the family closer together. I spend most of my off weeks visiting them now, she said. Just four weeks after the accident in May, Reid decided to return to Tour golf. She won in her first start back at the Prague Masters and made headlines around the golfing world. On reflection though, Reid says her comeback came too soon. It was quite tough but it actually got tougher the more events I played. It really hadn&apost hit me what had happened because I was so focussed on whether my family was ok. I had time to reflect on it last year, and looking back I would have done things very differently but at the time I thought I was doing the right thing – playing so soon after, Reid said. This year, the former Ladies European Tour Rookie of the Year returns to a more familiar schedule. After Christchurch, Reid will head to the Gold Coast for the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters and then on to Melbourne in search of good start on what have proven to be happy hunting grounds. I had a bad season last year but I know exactly what it was which is a positive I can take from it. I&aposm just going to re-dedicate myself this year and really focus on my game. I&aposve had a good off-season working hard so hopefully it will pay off soon.
Author: Hamish Jones / Golf Australia