English youngster Charley Hull’s arrival on the professional golf scene has been simply spectacular. In the five events she has played so far this season, she has been runner-up five times – believed to be an LET record - and it cannot be long before she earns her breakthrough win.
The 17-year-old from Northamptonshire moved to the top of the ISPS Handa Order of Merit on the Ladies European Tour after her second place finish at the Deloitte Ladies Open in the Netherlands a fortnight ago.
After a play-off defeat to last year’s European No.1 Carlota Ciganda in the UniCredit Ladies German Open presented by Audi over the weekend, she is no doubt that she is the LET’s hottest player and there is now a strong possibility of her becoming the youngest ever player to represent Europe on this year’s Solheim Cup team.
Hull started the season with a conditional card for the Ladies European Tour having just missed out on the top 30 at Tour School in December, but since finishing second to Ariya Jutanugarn at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco, she has not slipped outside the top 20 on the LET’s ISPS Handa Order of Merit, with additional joint second place finishes at the South African Women’s Open and Turkish Airlines Ladies Open.
She learned the ropes as a 16-year-old amateur last year, when invited to play in four professional tournaments including the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open, where she tied for fifth, the Irish Ladies Open, where she tied for 18th, ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters at Buckinghamshire Golf Club, where she tied for 18th and Kraft Nabisco Championship, a major championship on the LPGA Tour, where she tied for 38th position.
She would love for nothing more than to win her home tournament this summer when the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters is played on July 26-28 at Buckinghamshire Golf Club, just a short drive from her home in Kettering.
“I’m really looking forward to it, it should be really, really good, playing in front of a home crowd, not too far from where I live, about an hour,” Hull said.
“A few of my friends and family from Kettering will come down and I’ll just do my normal preparation, nothing more, nothing less.”
Hull, a member of the victorious GB&I Curtis Cup team at Nairn Golf Club last summer, is desperate to qualify for the European Solheim Cup team and was captained by the European skipper Liselotte Neumann in the PING Junior Solheim Cup in Ireland.
Hull’s mentor, Tony Jacklin, who led the European Ryder Cup team the first time they won in America in 1987, is confident that she has the game to qualify, or be one of the four wild card picks.
Hull recently spent time with Jacklin in America and speaking from his Miami home, he said: “She’s a real winner this girl; she’s terrific. You don’t see that kind of dedication and ability that she’s got very often and I knew already that she just wants to win golf tournaments. She’s a very unusual girl and I think she’s going to dominate.
“We got the chance to play quite a bit with some other professionals and everybody was saying that she’s exceptional. I think that she’s a world beater, I really do.
“There’s no way if she stays healthy that she’s not going to be on that team; I can promise you that. She’s a phenom, this young lady and she’s so driven to be as good as she can be. I talked to her for many hours about her attitude and some of the things that I believe are important. She went off with some books that I gave her to read and she’s hungry for knowledge. She had tremendous confidence. She’s going to be a good asset and I’ve got absolutely no doubt in my mind that she’ll be part of that team.”