England’s Charley Hull, one of the most promising young rookies in women’s golf, finished joint second in her first appearance as a professional on the Ladies European Tour in the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco.
The 17-year-old came within a whisker of winning on her LET debut last month and now she is looking to build on that performance in the SA Women’s Open, starting Friday at Southbroom Golf Club in KwaZulu-Natal.
The 2012 Curtis Cup winner, ranked 10th on the LET’s ISPS Handa Order of Merit after just one appearance, definitely has the game to win however, her preparations have been set back a little this week though illness.
Speaking to media in South Africa on the eve of the tournament on Thursday, she said: “I was really looking forward to this week. But I spent a whole day in bed with food poisoning, so my expectations are a little bit lower now. I feel a bit lethargic at the moment, but hopefully I get my energy back before the first round. And then I’m just going to go out there and have fun.”
Hull, who has been mentored by Tony Jacklin, has been reading a book given to her by the three-time Ryder Cup winner on the importance of taking one shot at a time and she echoed those sentiments when she explained her expectations for the tournament: “Just to take it one step at a time really. Make as many birdies and not think about too much else.”
On her first visit to the course, Hull described the coastal venue as: “Beautiful; there are some great views of the ocean here. The greens are rolling very good and overall it’s a good golf course; a good test.”
She will play in a strong grouping at 7.25am in the first round on Friday, starting from the 10th tee alongside Becky Brewerton of Wales and South African Tandi Cuningham.
The following group at 7.35am includes English duo Trish Johnson and Florentyna Parker along with Gwladys Nocera from France.
Meanwhile, at 7.45am last year’s joint runner up in the SA Women’s Open, Lee-Anne Pace, is grouped with Scotland’s Carly Booth and Australian Stacey Keating, who both won twice on the Ladies European Tour last year.
Play gets under way at 6.45am, with the final groups of the day out by 12.15pm.