Countless hours of training to be a two-footed soccer player paid major dividends for Anchorage’s Jo Reid at the American FootGolf League National Championships.
The 45-year-old soccer coach overcame pulled quad injuries to both legs to win the women’s competition by five shots at Brazell’s Creek Golf Course in Georgia.
Reid pulled her right quad during a practice round two days before the tournament started. That forced her to work on her left foot.
“I was a little rusty but I felt good and knew I could still play at a high level and win the title using my non-dominate foot,” she said. “Last year when I would train, I would use two balls and play one ball with my right and one ball with my left to prepare for moments like this.”
This was Reid’s second national title after winning last year in Virginia and marks the fifth straight year she has finished first or second in this event.
“It feels great winning back-to-back titles,” she said. “This year so much has happened and so much has been canceled I wasn’t sure if I was ready physically, but I knew I was ready mentally and super happy to end 2020 on a high note.”
Reid, of East High fame, fired a 54-hole total of 216 to beat Oklahoma’s Laura Parker by five shots. Former professional goalkeeper Anjuli Ladron of Mexico was six shots back.
Reid and Ladron shot identical scores on each of the first two days and were tied for the lead entering the final round. On the last day, though, Reid carded a one-under 70 while Ladron struggled with a five-over 76.
“I had three pretty consistent rounds,” Reid said. “I felt like my drives were long and straight, my approaches were accurate and my putts went in, so when you put all of those things together you usually have good rounds.”
It was hardly a walk in the park, though. Already nursing a sore right quad, she pulled her left quad on the back nine of Day 1.
“At this point, I was really worried that I wasn’t going to be able to finish the tournament as I still had two days left,” she said.
But Reid was determined to finish the tournament, she said, and did everything she could in terms of rest, rehab and recovery to be ready for Day 2.
“I decided to use both of my feet for drives and approaches to not overstrain one leg and pick my shots for my right and my left for each hole,” Reid said. “This strategy worked as I played well and my legs felt good so I knew I could get through one more round.”
Soccer has been a large part of Reid’s entire life and that background makes her a natural fit for footgolf.
“I coach soccer for a living so I’m always kicking a ball,” said Reid, who commits to at least five hours a week specifically to footgolf.
Living in Alaska can be challenging when the golf course is only open six months out of the year, so I make sure to use the winter months to work on my strength, flexibility and mental side of the game,” she said. “When the snow melts I’m ready to go.”