24 May 2018

Charley Hull on a fast track to success

Having turned professional at the tender age of 17, Charley Hull showed she wasn’t on Tour to just to play golf on some spectacular courses. In her first five starts on the Ladies European Tour she reeled off five successive runner-up finishes starting in 2013 at the Lalla Meryem Cup.

Her red-hot start in the professional ranks came as no surprise to her rival players having enjoyed an impressive amateur career where she had reached a high of third in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

“I was lucky to have played in some professional tournaments when I was still an amateur,” said Hull, now aged 22, who was first introduced to golf at the age of two. “I think this really helped me when I turned pro. The amateur circuit is very strong and competitive so that eased me comfortably into the professional ranks. I felt ready to compete from the start at that level, which enabled me to play my best.”

Just five months after making her LET debut, Hull was selected for the European Solheim Cup squad – making her the youngest player ever to play in the biennial tournament. Hull and the European Team went on to create further history as they became the first European squad to win on US soil with Hull contributing two points including a 5 & 4 victory over 2010 US Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer.

Winner’s circle

With her game in full swing a first professional win beckoned. In only her second season on Tour she tasted success for the first time, lifting her maiden title in spectacular fashion at the 2014 Lalla Meryem Cup. Having started the final round five-shots behind overnight leader Gwladys Nocera, Hull surged back in fine style to produce a spellbinding nine-under-par 62 to force a play-off with the French star. The comeback was complete on the first sudden-death play-off hole with Hull sinking her birdie putt to etch her name onto the trophy.

With her form on an upward spiral, the former Curtis Cup player became a member of the LPGA Tour in 2015 in a bid to make a name for herself among the plethora of talent over the pond. Her first title on US soil came the following year in the form of the prestigious season-ending CME Group Tour Championship – shooting a tournament record 19-under-par – to pick up a handsome cheque for $500,000 and earn a fourth place finish in the season-long Race to the CME Globe.

 “I celebrated with a few close friends in England after my win in America,” said Hull. “It was good to see them all after a busy year travelling on tour. Off the golf course I like to spend time with my friends back home and we hardly ever talk about golf unless I’m playing with my mates on the LET, but the LPGA  is a very different Tour!”

Olympics

The Englishwoman certainly had plenty to talk about to her friends in 2016. Her win in the States topped an incredible season for the youngster, who played her part in Team GB at the Rio Olympics alongside Catriona Matthew, Justin Rose and Danny Willett earlier in the season. Having finished the campaign tied for eighth, Hull is eager for a second chance on the world stage.

“It was an amazing honour to represent Team GB,” said Hull, who has five LPGA Tour top-ten finishes to her name this year. “It was a great experience to travel to Rio and stay in the village with all the other Olympic athletes. We don’t have many opportunities to represent our country in golf and it was a fascinating time for me. I felt I had a good tournament. After my experience in Rio I would like to represent Team GB again and I think the crowds in Japan 2020 could be huge.”

Although she hasn’t entered the winners circle since 2016, recent form has shown she is not far off a return to glory. Having recently shared tenth place at both the US Women’s Open and the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship, Hull is hoping that her game, combined with her knowledge of links golf, will help her better the eighth place finish she achieved at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open debut in 2015.

“Growing up in England, I got used to playing links golf, mostly in the rain – so I know how to handle it,’” said Hull. “Nowadays, I play golf in Texas, where it’s windy and the courses tend to be a bit linksy.

“Being used to playing links golf may not be a massive advantage, but it’s handy. I will keep focussing on hitting good shots, as each good shot leads to a good hole and lots of good holes lead to a good round – which leads to a good tournament.”

The knowledgeable Scottish galleries certainly appreciate good links golf and if Hull can produce her best seaside form she could be taking home the impressive silverware at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open come Sunday afternoon.

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