Australia’s Katherine Hull is hoping that a little local knowledge will boost her chances of retaining her ANZ Ladies Masters title when the 21st edition of the tournament gets underway at the RACV Royal Pines on the Gold Coast of Queensland on Thursday.
The recently turned 28-year-old from Sunrise Beach, Noosa, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, enjoyed a five shot win at the tournament last year, becoming the third Australian to lift the title.
Whilst her form in 2010 is perhaps not at the same level it was on arrival at Royal Pines last year, she finished runner up at the recent event in Canberra and at the NSW Open on the Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG).
Despite the wet course conditions, she said: “Queenslanders definitely have a bit of an advantage knowing the greens and the type of grass we have here and I mean, Karrie (Webb) has proved time and time again, the more you play out here and more comfortable you get on the golf course and the more likely you are to win.
“I think the girls who have played here before definitely have a head start but it’s not a super tough golf course, so, I mean… anyone could win it. You’ve just got to make as many birdies as you can and same old story and keep the mistakes to the low.”
Hull rated her game at six or seven out of 10 coming into the week compared with eight out of 10 12 months ago but she has been working on swing changes, which she hopes will stick within the next six months.
“Basically I did a 3D swing analysis. This is back in January; they hooked me up to all sorts of gizmos and found out that my sequence was off. I actually lead with my upper body as oppose to my lower body on the down swing and as I lose a lot of power and so trying to re-sequence that and get my hips to kind of lead the down swing and hopefully it’ll end up giving me some more distance which will be nice, but probably going to take a about six months,” she said.
Not being 100 percent comfortable with her swing, Hull said that the door was wide open this year and the amount of rainfall was to her disadvantage.
“Obviously, it’s going to play longer with the amount of rain we’ve had, so that would tend to favour the longer hitters but you’ve still obviously got to get the ball in the hole, so, yeah I don’t think the scores are going to be as low, based on the conditions but I think you can still make birdies out there for sure,” she added.
Whilst some of the longer hitters such as Sophie Gustafson, the 2009 Henderson Money List winner, last week’s Pegasus New Zealand Women’s Open champion Laura Davies and the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Champion Brittany Lincicome will not be rubbing their hands in glee about the recent wet weather, with their formidable distances off the tee they certainly have the advantage on the course.