On the eve of the 2015 Ricoh Women’s British Open at Trump Turnberry, Charley Hull recounted her memories of playing the Ailsa Course a decade ago, when she beat 24,000 people to win the Health Perception Great Britain and Ireland Amateur Championship aged nine.
“I don’t remember too much of it because it was a really windy and rainy day. It was like 50‑mile‑per‑hour winds and I fell over, the wind blew me over on the 11th hole, the par 3,” she said.
“I came in and it was raining. I remember just wanting to come in and play my Nintendo DS. And I had to go out in a playoff, and a member was like, “No, Charley, you’ve got to go out and play.”
“And I was like, “I don’t want to. I want to carry on playing this.”
“I won on the second playoff hole and then I ran in and played again on my Nintendo DS.”
The 19-year-old Solheim Cup star from Kettering in Northamptonshire doesn’t feel that she has an advantage.
“Because I played it ten years ago, I’m taking completely different lines. Probably used to hit my drive 130 yards and now I hit it probably 110 yards further.
“I’ve got good memories of this place, so hopefully that kind of gives me a little bit of an advantage but not too much.”
From the age of nine, Hull’s golfing progress was rapid and when asked about her handicap, she replied: “I think I was off 25, and when I was ten, I was off like 5. And then 11, off scratch.”
Hull turned professional at 17 and was the youngest ever Solheim Cup player in her first year on tour in 2013, before winning the Ladies European Tour’s rookie of the year prize and then the order of merit 12 months later in 2014.
She always knew she was going to be a professional golfer and said: “I always played golf, so I just thought it was a normal thing to do. So I always wanted to do it when I was older. I enjoy it. I love it. I’m pretty happy where I am now.”
Hull would love to be the next Briton to claim the Ricoh Women’s British Open championship, after Catriona Matthew (2009), Karen Stupples (2004), Penny Grice-Whittaker (1991), Alison Nicholas (1987) and Laura Davies (1986).
On her performance in the majors so far this year, she said: “I was leading quite a few times after the second or first round and just fell away a little bit. I’m still young, and I feel like I’m ready to win a major. It’s just got to putt all four rounds together. But I’m getting there and I feel like my swing is in a better place and I feel like I’m a better player this year, as well.
“Probably lack a little bit of concentration. Now I’ve just got to feel confident in my swing and just hold my finish and tidy up the messy pieces like pre‑shot routine, make sure I get everything tidy. I think they are the most crucial things to me.”