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Hull Unflappable At 17

PARKER, COLORADO | Charley Hull is not a spoiled kid but she got what she wanted on Sunday when she drew Paula Creamer in the singles. Initially, when she was asked who she would like to play, she had replied with an enthusiastic, “All of them.” Then she narrowed it down to Creamer, “because it would be quite something if you could say you had beaten her.” Now she can. The 17-year-old Hull walloped the American by 5 and 4 and comported herself beautifully in the process. When, for instance, Creamer holed her bunker shot at the 13th, she politely retrieved the ball from the hole before making her matching birdie. And when she was being clapped from the 14th green by none other than Nancy Lopez, this young innocent seized the chance to ask Creamer if she could have her autograph for a friend at home. She handed across her match ball for the purpose and Creamer, showing any amount of grace in defeat, obliged. Afterwards, Hull said she would never forget Creamer’s bunker shot, along with her reply: “It’s just a real good memory I’ll always have.” As for what she is going to tell her friends about the Solheim Cup, she summed it up in a single word. “Wicked.” In normal circumstances, you half expect a cry of “Yippee!” to accompany Charley’s first drive of the day, only on Sunday afternoon she was feeling – and looking – sick. Dave, her father, wondered if it had anything to do with her tummy-button and the gold ring she had had inserted. Amid the heat, the ring had sired an infection and poison had popped out the day before. And if it were not that, he worried lest she had a stomach upset. Mercifully, neither applied; it was the heat around the first tee and, after someone had applied an icy towel to her neck and she had holed a 15-footer at the third, she was up and running. At the turn, she was three holes to the good. Yes, she had missed three short putts to set against a couple of long ones but Creamer had been just too wayward off the tee to take advantage. “I just didn’t bring it today,” said Creamer. “The Solheim Cup brings the best and the worst out of you.” On the practice ground before the Friday four-balls, Hull, whose night-time reading is usually a Harry Potter book, had told her caddie that she wanted to feel nervous. “After what Suzann (Pettersen) had been saying about how you couldn’t but be nervous on the first tee, I thought I had better feel something,” she explained. “I did a bit, but not like people had said.” It was not until she was faced with a four-footer at the 17th in the next day’s four-balls that those dormant nerves finally surfaced. She had to make the putt to give herself and Jodi Ewart Shadoff a one-hole lead – and she said that nothing in life had ever frightened her more. The ball dropped just the same. There was a media man who asked, “What was your mind-set going into that match?” “Mind-set?” queried Hull. “We just went in there and played golf as normal.” It was rather better than “normal.” The European pair made 10 birdies. Hull was not overawed by any members of the opposition but there were a couple who impressed her above the rest. One was Creamer, the other Lexi Thompson. Like her, Thompson was home-schooled and, again like her, Thompson was playing professionally at 17. In answer to the prompt, “What about Michelle Wie?” she came up with a somewhat surprising comment. “I never really noticed her as I was growing up.” (Here, it needs to be made plain that there is no way she was out to make trouble. It is not in her nature.) Pettersen, who offered such staunch support to the rookies, is just one to have advised the young star that she should head for the LPGA Tour as soon as she can. Hull, who has already been given a pass to second-stage qualifying, has accepted an invitation to play in this week’s Canadian Women’s Open but is probably turning down the one she received Sunday to go on to Oregon. Her plan for next year is to dip in and out of both tours and that could work. Mark Casey, from the European Tour, believes that there will be 10 or 12 LET events next year to lure the big names home.


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