Golf-Mel Reid credits Brooks Koepka after sparkling opening round

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By Rory Carroll

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Mel Reid said advice she received this week from four-time major champion Brooks Koepka about competing on golf's biggest stages played a key role in her preparation heading into the U.S. Women's Open.

Englishwoman Reid fired a four-under 67 in cold and windy conditions at The Olympic Club on Thursday to take a one-stroke clubhouse lead to get her bid for her first major title off to a sparkling start.

"I texted Brooks on Tuesday. We had a long conversation and then we FaceTimed for an hour on Tuesday night," Reid, who notched her first LPGA victory last year at the ShopRite Classic, told reporters.

"He gave me a few things that he follows by in a major, so obviously I appreciate his help," she said of Koepka, the former men's world number one who won back-to-back U.S. Opens in 2017 and 2018.

"What he told me was invaluable, honestly, and it made me have a little bit different approach ... I'm just trying to be a bit more like Brooks," said the 33-year-old, who won the first of her six Ladies European Tour events in 2010.

Pressed to reveal what that advice was, Reid demurred.

"No, I'm not telling you that," she said. "Good try."

While she said she was happy to be at the top of the leaderboard after her round, she said the course required players to be locked in on every hole.

"It's obviously day one. There's a long, long way to go, and if you don't pay attention, this golf course can really eat you up," she said.

"I just need to stay focused. Whoever wins at the end of this is going to be really tired come Sunday."

Reid agreed with players who have said the winning player could finish with an above-par score at the sprawling course, which features narrow fairways, thick rough, deep bunkers and a healthy dose of San Francisco's famous fog.

"If you shoot level par, I really don't think you'll be far off," she said.

"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. If it gets windy, it's a tough golf course," she said.

"You cannot switch off on any single hole. There's no hole that you're like, 'Right, we can ease off.' There's no hole like that out here."

Beyond winning this week, Reid said she hopes to represent Europe once again at the Solheim Cup and make her first Olympic appearance at the Tokyo Games.

"I never dreamed as a golfer I could play in the Olympics, that was never on my radar," she said.

"It would be an absolute honor if I played in the Olympics and represented my country."

(Reporting by Rory Carroll; editing by Richard Pullin)

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