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ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open hosted by Christchurch: Hull wants to follow Ko’s lead

Teenage Charley Hull will be hoping she can put into practice what she has picked up from playing with fellow teenage sensation Lydia Ko and capture her first professional title at this week’s ISPS Handa New Zealand’s Women’s Open hosted by Christchurch.

The 17-year-old from England had a fantastic rookie year in Europe, she finished runner-up in her first five events as a professional, finished sixth on the ISPS Handa Order of Merit and took home the LET Rolex Rookie of the Year honours. 

However, she did learn a thing or two when she was paired with the New Zealand No.1 during the year.

“I try and focus mainly on myself and my own game but sometimes just have a look at little things that you can learn off her,” said Hull of Ko.   

“She has got a great tempo, that is one of the main things I worked on over winter, ‘cause I noticed that about her.  So it was something I definitely needed to work on.

Hull played with Ko at the Evian Championship in France and didn’t play very well that week “cause my swing was a bit out.”

“I was working on some stuff and it wasn’t quite together and I thought if my tempo was better, it would give me more of a chance, so that is one thing I have definitely noticed with Lydia.

“She has won five professional titles and I am trying to win my first one still so she is a good person to learn from.”

The fact that Ko is defending and now up to No.4 in the Rolex World Rankings, takes the spotlight away from Hull which is nothing but good news for the Solheim Cup rep. 

“I quite like it, it takes pressure off me a little bit, because they have so many high expectations about Lydia, so which is kinda good, people won’t expect too much from you but as Lydia a lot of people expect it. “

Hull is on her first trip to New Zealand and says it reminds her of home.

“It is really pretty, I like it (New Zealand), it looks a bit like England I think, just like our summer, but probably a bit warmer, I like it so far.”

Clearwater GC. Credit Scott Watts.

Regarding the Clearwater layout she is ready for a stern test.

“I think it is really pretty, I think it is great, the greens are really good.  The whole course is really good, especially when the wind blows it can be a real challenge.”

Hull, who is paired with Ko and Australian Stacey Keating in the first two rounds, is looking forward to tomorrow.

“I like playing with Lydia, actually you learn a lot off her, which is weird, but I played with her in the Canadian Open for the first three rounds, we were both playing pretty well in that and then she soared ahead. I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

Her compatriot Laura Davies, a winner of an incredible 84 professional titles, and the 2012 NZ Women’s Open, has played a motherly role to the young English superstar.

Davies expects big things of Hull as she looks to back up her dream debut season.

“Me and Charley get on really well,” said Davies. “I played with her in her first pro event last year in Morocco and I just thought she was a lovely young girl with a really bright future.

“I haven’t given her a lot of advice, I have talked to her Dad a bit about travel and things and that is just helping out someone who is a peer. You try to help them if you can, you want to beat them and they want to beat you but there is no doubt that Charley is an exciting prospect and she has a really bright future.”

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