Charley Hull embracing ‘favourite’ tag
You only have to look into Charley Hull’s eyes to know the 18-year-old is a fearless competitor on the golf course. And that could well prove pivotal as she embarks on a quest to capture the Ladies Masters trophy on the Gold Coast this week, with many placing her as favourite for the victory.
Golf is enjoying somewhat of a boom period for young female golfers coming through the ranks, with 17-year-old New Zealander Lydia Ko currently World No.1, although Hull herself is no stranger to success.
She topped the Order of Merit on the Ladies European Tour (LET) in 2014 in only her second year as a professional.
And just a week removed from taking on a field which included Ko and Karrie Webb at the Women’s Australian Open, Hull will be locking horns with defending champion Cheyenne Woods at Royal Pines – a contest the Englishwoman is relishing.
However some are concerned that Hull will struggle as she takes to the field having been labelled favourite for the win. Her critics have rightly countered these grumblings of discontent by pointing out that, despite a poor showing at the LPGA Q-School last year, Hull roared back to claim the LET Order of Merit just a few days later.
"It's a good thing because it shows that I've been playing well last year," said Hull.
Hull was victorious at the LET event in Morocco last year and believes she comes to the Gold Coast a better player than she was 12 months ago when she finished tied for 10th.
"I learnt if you don't have a good week, there's always another week," she said. "I feel my swings improved a lot ... looking forward to seeing how it goes this year."
Hull’s main rivals at Royal Pines will be South African World No.29 Lee-Anne Pace, the highest-ranking player in the field, English veteran Laura Davies, Australian Rachel Hetherington and defending champion Cheyenne Woods. A tough field which should throw up some exciting golf.
But there is another factor to consider here, too, as Hull is also battling an injury to her right shoulder which has hampered her build-up to the event.
"Today's the first day I've been able to see the golf course," she said. "I hurt my back and my neck and I haven't been able to hit many balls. It's a bit annoying.
"That's how it goes sometimes. It's affecting my swing a little bit but hopefully it'll be alright."
The 2015 Ladies Masters tees off on Thursday from 0700 with Hull drawn in the afternoon groups alongside Australia’s Kristie Smith and China’s Yan Jing.
Charley Hull is a Titleist Tour player who uses the hugely-popular V1x golf balls, along with Titleist’s awesome 913 range. She also has Vokey wedges, 714 MB Irons and Scotty Cameron Newport Tour Putter in her bag.
Hull is a life-long Liverpool FC supporter and tries to watch the team whenever she’s not on the golf course.
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