The Koepka connection: Mel Reid shares the US Women’s Open first round lead after chat with Brooks

The Englishwoman crafted a Thursday 67, later matched by the 17-year-old Megha Ganne, at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.

Historically England's Mel Reid has found the first round of the US Open a challenge.

This week at the Olympic Club in San Francisco she is making a sixth start in the championship and in four of the five previous appearances she failed to break 75 on Thursday.

But the 33-year-old from Derby is a different golfer these days: settled in Florida, married, and, as of October last year, a winner on the LPGA.

Moreover, she had a few US Open secrets revealed to her midweek by the two-time champion of the men's event Brooks Koepka.

After carding a controlled 67 to top the morning wave (she was later joined by the 17-year-old amateur Megha Ganne in a tie for the first round lead) she admitted to her special insight.

"Yeah, I texted Brooks on Tuesday," she said. "We had a long conversation and then we FaceTimed for an hour on Tuesday night. He gave me a few things that he follows in a major, so obviously appreciate his help.

"I wasn't going to tell you, there you go. My secret's been told.

"What he told me was invaluable, honestly, and it made me have a little bit different approach. That's why I feel like I prepared the best and had a great game plan, probably the best I've had for a tournament, and I stuck to it.

"So, yeah, I'm just trying to be a bit more like Brooks."

Ganne's effort was extrordinary. With two holes to play she led by one, but she failed to birdie the par-5 17th and dropped a shot at the last, but it was still a marked contrast to the 81 she opened the 2019 event with.

Americans Angel Yin and Meghan Khang share third with Canada's Brooke Henderson. World No 1. Jin Young Ko posted a steady 70 while pre-tournament favourite Inbee Park swapped five birdies and five bogeys in her level-par 71.

Let's take a closer look at the state of play and also catch up with the players' thoughts on the course.

Tournament trends

Winners need to hit greens. Nine of the last 10 winners ranked seventh or better for Greens in Regulation. The exception was Brittany Lang who rescued her week with an astounding effort saving par (she ranked first for Scrambling).

That spells great news for Ko who currently leads the category having hit 16 of 18 in round one. Khang landed 15, Reid and Henderson 14, but Park (10) needs a huge upgrade through the last 54 holes.

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Ko is also under-par on the Par-4s - another key category with the last 10 winners all ending the week top six. She's also T9th at the moment and 20 of the last 25 winners were in the top 15 at this stage.

Henderson is the current favourite, but arguably that should be Ko, making her the pre-second round punt at 8/1 with Paddy Power.

Reid (and possibly Koepka also) on the Major challenge

"If you're in trouble, just get it out, make bogey. I think the key here is to not take many risks the first two, three days, and I didn't do that.

"There's a long, long way to go and, if you don't pay attention, this golf course can really eat you up. Just need to stay focused. Whoever wins at the end of this is going to be really tired come Sunday.

"I love how tough it is. I think it makes you think, makes you create a strategy. You can't bomb it everywhere. You've really got to think where your misses are.

"I think the conditions are going to get tougher. The rough is going to grow up a bit. The greens are going to get firmer."

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Brooke Henderson on the USGA giving the players a break in round one

"They moved up a lot of tees, which was really nice. When I saw that, I was like, wow, as long as you hit the fairway you're going to have a short iron in. Some of tougher holes looked a little easier. Made a lot of birdies, which was fun.

"It was still super challenging so if you didn't make the fairway, it was hard to make par. I think the next three days will be challenging and interesting."

Austin Ernst keeps it short and sweet

"They were very generous with how they set it up and I don't think they will be the rest of the week."

READ MORE: Xander Schauffele locked in a dilemma: He'd ban the putter he's turned to

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