Solheim starlet inspired by Senior legends

8/31/2013 10:45:32 AM
Woburn's favourite daughter Charley Hull in action at the Solheim Cup  (Getty Images)
Woburn's favourite daughter Charley Hull in action at the Solheim Cup (Getty Images)

Touring Professional Ian Poulter might currently be the most renowned name associated with Woburn Golf Club, but young Charley Hull, fresh from her key role in the European Solheim Cup triumph two weeks ago and also a member at the club, could be ready to challenge that mantle.

The 17 year old, who has played much of her junior golf around the storied links at Woburn, this week hosting the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters for a 13th successive edition, sprang to global attention when she became the youngest ever competitor in the biennial transatlantic contest earlier this month in Colorado.

Not content with that, Hull set the tone for an historic victory on a thrilling Sunday, thrashing American legend Paula Creamer 5&4 en route to an 18-10 victory.

Engaging, often amusing and entirely fearless – as exemplified in an astonishing Solheim Cup debut – Hull has been watching the Senior Masters at her home club for years and says the “legends” who play here have been a constant inspiration.

“It’s great to have events like here on your home soil where you can go out, follow these guys, these legends, and learn how to work your way around a golf course,” said Hull, who has played in the Pro-Am at this event a number of times, most recently with Manuel Piñero last year, and is back this week purely as a fan.

“I’ve been coming to watch this event since I was really small. I remember watching Carl Mason win his two titles around here and he instantly became one of my favourite players.

“Getting to play with some of them in the Pro-Am growing was so important too, because it’s an environment where you can learn little tricks and tips from them.”

As might be expected, it has been a whirlwind of press, publicity and exposure since the Solheim spectacle, having been invited to the CN Canadian Women's Open on the US LPGA Tour the week after the team victory.

Hull again showed her prowess there, finishing in a tie for 17th after opening rounds of 69 and 66 but says it is home comforts that still resonate the most readily.

“It’s been really good since getting back,” she continued.  “It’s nice to see my friends and family and obviously a great feeling to keep the trophy on European soil.

“But one of the funnest things about it all has been that my friends all know I’m actually pretty good at golf now rather than me just telling them I’m alright!”

“It has just about started to sink in what happened over there now. I’ve only really been able to stop and think about it all quite recently as I went straight from the Solheim to the event in Canada that I was invited to.

“I was tired but played pretty well there too so the whole experience, I guess, showed me that I am good enough and can compete with these top players.”

Hull has been an ever-present figure around Woburn this week as the likes of Colin Montgomerie vie for victory in the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters, and the enthusiasm of youth and an unbridled passion for golf is clear for all to see.

“I love coming back because you can pick up so much from them,” she said, before adding, with a twinkle in her eyes: “They are Seniors, legends and they are experienced players because, well, they are pretty old – but don’t tell them I said that!”

Rock solid nerves, confidence aplenty, and an inherently cheeky side, then. Something a bit Poulter-esque about all that…