HULL OF A ROUND
England's Charley Hull put together a third-round six-under 66 to climb into a tie for third only two shots behind the leaders entering the final round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
“I hit it quite well,” Hull said. “My irons were pretty good and I hit some good drives. I hit some bad drives toward the end which I’m working on on the range. But holed good putts my when I got myself in trouble, I was able to get out of it. I’m pretty happy with how it’s going.”
The 18-year old showed little signs of nerves as she looks to become the youngest player to ever to a major and to make the leap into Poppie’s Pond.
“You know, I enjoy it being good young. There are a lot of great young players coming up, especially Lydia, Lexi and everyone,” Hull said. “But I think age is just a number. I think it’s more about experience, yeah, it’s good.”
Long-hitting Americans Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie shared the lead on 10-under-par going into the final round on the Dinah Shore Course at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.
Third-Round Interview with Charley Hull:
KELLY THESIER: Good afternoon, everyone. We'd like to welcome Charley Hull into the interview room. First off, congratulations. What a fabulous round today. 6‑under 66, now sitting 8‑under overall, just a few shots off the lead of a major championship. What was working really well in your game today?
CHARLEY HULL: I hit it quite well. My irons were pretty good and I hit some good drives. I hit some bad drives toward the end which I'm working on on the range. But holed good putts my when I got myself in trouble, I was able to get out of it. I'm pretty happy with how it's going.
KELLY THESIER: I'd say pretty happy. 66 is pretty good. You played in seven previous LPGA events, but everybody remembers the Solheim Cup experience from last year. In fact, your best LPGA finish came the week after when you played at the CN Canadian Women's Open and finished tied for 17th. What did that experience in the Solheim Cup do for you?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, well, the experience helped me with my putting because when I had that putt to be, well, to go 1‑up at the last against Lexi and Paula, it was only like four feet. I hit my 9‑iron close, and that kind of made me think I can putt under pressure. Then it's given me confidence for the rest of the year to now.
But it's put a bit of pressure on me as well to perform out there because I haven't won yet until two weeks ago when I won my first pro event, now I feel like I deserve to be in some LPGA events. I got some invites, and I've kind of got the monkey off my back. I've got the win and hopefully there are many more coming.
KELLY THESIER: A few big weeks for you. You won, and a few weeks ago turned 18, pretty exciting stuff. What is it having that first professional win under your belt? What's that done for your confidence level? Is that a big thing to get under injure belt finally?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, well, I shot 9‑under in the last round, and I won. When I won I thought, all right, I feel a lot better. But I think it was because I have imagined myself winning so many times and dreaming it, but actually I made it when it turned into reality, it was like all right. I kind of expected it. And I really want to win again now because I've got the bug for it. I suppose anyone would have the bug for that, but it was just all right.
Q. Can you talk about the decision not to go to Q‑school for LPGA last year, and then have you had a hard time getting sponsor exemptions starts on the LPGA this year?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, I didn't want to go to Q‑school last year, because first of all I missed some events on the LET. And second of all, I was really enjoying my friends and stuff at home, just being a kid, going out and going to parties and stuff. I don't want to miss that living over here full‑time at the moment, because I was still 17. I still wanted my childhood in a way.
I've got another 20 or hopefully 30 years of playing golf. So you look at Laura Davies, and she's had a great career, so there was no rush for me to get over here. That's it, really. What was your second question?
Q. Starts on the LPGA?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, I got some invites. I've got Swinging Skirts and Kingsmill so far.
Q. I heard a little bit from what you were talking about that you said you're a little bit clumsy. You consider yourself clumsy. Do you find yourself up near the top of the leaderboard right now, does that make you nervous at all about the thought of jumping into the pond tomorrow?
CHARLEY HULL: No, I haven't really thought about that. I'm not really going to think about that. You know, I'm not clumsy all the time, just like sometimes. Yeah, but that's it, really.
Q. You played here last year and finished 38th?
CHARLEY HULL: Two years ago.
Q. Yeah, two years ago you finished 38th. What do you remember from that that is helping you this week on this golf course?
CHARLEY HULL: I don't know, really. Just pace putting. I can't really remember too much from two years ago. I can just remember when I shot 4‑under, and I thought, wow, that's a great round to shoot 4‑under in a major. And this year I come back and shoot 6‑under. So, yeah, it feels pretty good, just to be steady around this golf course.
Q. You said winning was good, but maybe not as over the top as you want it. Would winning a major be over the top for you?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, definitely, it would be the best feeling ever. It would be the best moment of my life because I'm going to watch The Masters next week, and I'm really looking forward to that. You know, it would just make The Masters even better.
Q. To what extent do you get tired of the, oh, so young kinds of questions, reference to your youth and the consistency of those kinds of questions?
CHARLEY HULL: Well, I appreciate living life as full, being young at the moment and you're not going to get asked these questions for a long time. You know, I enjoy it being good young. There are a lot of great young players coming up, especially Lydia, Lexi and everyone.
But I think age is just a number. I think it's more about experience, yeah, it's good.
Q. We know about the autograph signing with Paula. But I'm curious the two names at the top of the board, Michelle and Lexi. How much do you look up to them? What is your first memory of maybe watching them play?
CHARLEY HULL: I remember going to (Indiscernible) when I was 9 years old because I played in a Pro‑Am with Morgan Pressel. I remember watching Michelle Wie on the range there. So I wasn't really too sure who she was, but I would see people talking about Michelle and then Lexi also when she was really young. But, yeah, that was about it, really.
Q. Is there someone on the Tour that you look up to? Someone that you consider an icon?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, I think Suzann Pettersen and Lydia Ko.
KELLY THESIER: Is it funny to look up to Lydia when she's a little bit younger than you?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, it is. But I just know she's a great player, and I think anyone can look up to Lydia even if they're 20 years older than her. I think she's a great player. I like her. She's a good friend. I played with her a bit over the last couple of months, and she's a great kid and such a nice person and down to earth. So I think she's brilliant for the Tour.
Q. I saw you guys become friends last year actually at the CN Canadian Women's Open, really talking about being young. Do you guys ever share what the experiences are like being one of that younger group that's out here that might be a little younger than some of the others?
CHARLEY HULL: No, not really. I don't know. We don't really talk about that too much. But, no, not really.
KELLY THESIER: Charley, you have the opportunity tomorrow if you would win to become the youngest major champion in LPGA Tour history. Just another young thought that we'll put out there for you. But looking forward to seeing if you can make that fun jump into the pond and wishing you the best of luck tomorrow.
CHARLEY HULL: Thank you.