|Charley playing in India last year
England’s Charley Hull is not worried about backing up her dream debut season on the Ladies European Tour.
The 17-year-old hit the ground running in the professional ranks in 2013 when she recorded nine top 10s, finished sixth on the Order of Merit, comfortably claimed the LET Rookie of the Year honours and became the youngest player to compete in the Solheim Cup.
“It was all a bit of a blur really,” said Hull from her home in Kettering.
“I didn’t really have much time to reflect on it but when I look back on my rookie season I am pretty proud of what I had achieved.”
The World No.101 is one of the name players in next week’s ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open hosted by Christchurch and she can’t wait for her first trip to New Zealand.
She knows that people will be watching her and expecting big things. “There will be more pressure and expectation on me this year but it’s a new year and a new start and I can’t wait to get started in New Zealand,” she said.
Coming Down Under will be a whole new experience. When asked what she knew about the country Hull replied: “Is that where Lord of the Rings was filmed? Ok that is all I know about New Zealand [laughs].”
She knows about the same about the Clearwater Golf Club which will stage the championship from January 31 to February 2.
“It will be a case of learning as much as possible in the first few days. I will turn up, hit it and then try and find it and do that again.”
It was that sort of attitude that saw Hull make a name for herself in 2013. They say ignorance is bliss and Hull proved that with all the wonderment of youth in a stellar start to the season.
She recorded five runner-up finishes in her first five starts on the LET. Hull explained why she was an immediate success in professional golf.
“I played a few pro events towards the end of my amateur career and I went alright and took some confidence from that, that I was good enough. I started the year well and that gave me a lot of self-belief that I belonged out here and that I could compete. It all went from there really.”
Even though she was happy to be competing finishing runner-up in five consecutive weeks got old pretty quick even for a rookie.
She reviewed the ones that got away, with caddie Mark Warrington, as she tries to record her first win on tour.
“Often it was an adrenalin thing and getting too excited. I would hit a full shot and hit it over the green and be left with a difficult pitch and that would cost me. It is all about controlling my mindset, staying calm and having a good temperament.”
Speaking of a good temperament Hull would love to follow in the footsteps of her good friend and fellow teen sensation Lydia Ko.
“I really like Lydia, she is a great kid and definitely one of my friends on tour. We hang out quite a bit when we are playing the same tournament.
“I like her as a person and I like her as a golfer. She has achieved so many amazing things so early in her career. New Zealand is fortunate to have a player like Lydia.”
The World No.4 will once again dominate the headlines for the New Zealand Women’s Open and Hull would like nothing more than to compete with her on the homestretch on Sunday afternoon.
“I hope that we can play together. It would be awesome if both of us are in contention in the final round and we can have a good battle. I would really enjoy that.”
Hull has also enjoyed playing with golfers at the other end of the age bracket, the likes of Laura Davies and has learned a lot competing with them. Their support of her success has been rewarding.
“I don’t read the papers too much or pay attention to what is going on in the media but a few of the players have come up to me and said well done [on last year’s season] and it is always nice to get your peer’s respect.”
But that is all in the past and now she needs to start again. Hull never sets goals for a season. She just wants to play good golf.
“Good shots lead to good scores and good tournaments lead to good seasons. It will take care of itself. I just try to keep the process simple and not overthink it too much. People will talk about me in a positive or negative way, I don’t really care to be honest. I am going to have fun and try to build on what I achieved last year.”