England amateur Charley Hull has described the experience of playing in her first Major – and finishing in the top 40 – as “amazing.”
The 16-year-old, who is fifth in the world amateur rankings, was 38th in the Kraft Nabisco Championship in California.
Afterwards, she commented on a wonderful week: "The whole experience was amazing and everyone was so friendly and welcoming.
“I loved being involved and didn’t feel out of place – it is where I want to be in the future – playing with and against the very best players in the world on championship courses. I cannot thank Kraft Nabisco enough for inviting me, everything was perfect."
Charley, from Woburn, played the 72 holes in one-over par and her scores included a four-under 68. "I was very pleased with my game, especially tee to green and my first target was to make the cut,” she said.
“After that I really felt that I could get a top 10 place and I would have if a few more putts had dropped, but the greens were very tricky. I have learned a lot that will stand me in good stead for the future."
Charley’s next date is the Helen Holm Scottish open stroke play championship at Troon at the end of April, followed by the Welsh open in early May, when she will defend her title.
Major performance by Charley Hull in Kraft Nabisco
02 April 2012
England’s world number five amateur, Charley Hull, impressively finished in the top 40 in the Kraft Nabisco Championship in California – her first professional tournament and her first Major.
The 16-year-old tied 38th with a 72-hole total of one-over par. She was the second-placed English player in the field, behind Yorkshire’s Jodi Ewart, and ahead of Karen Stupples and Melissa Reid.
Charley (© Leaderboard Photography) beat par twice during the event, opening with a one-under 71 before scoring 77, four-under 68 and 73.
The Woburn player made a dream start to the championship with a birdie on the first hole of the first round. She told the LPGA: “I birdied my first-ever hole of my first-ever major, and that was my first-ever pro tournament, so I was pretty chuffed with that.
"It was really good. The next hole I just forgot about it and just carried on playing golf. It just got me up and excited."
She explained that she had set out to cope with playing on such a big stage by keeping things simple. "It's hard to take it all in, but I’m just trying to concentrate, not try and do anything different to upset my routine," she said.
She made the halfway cut, right on the mark after her second round 77 and she noted on Twitter that she had tried to hit too hard under pressure. But she added: “I know how to smooth things out, take one more club and swing soft!” The plan worked. Her third-round 68 was awarded the expressive hashtag BOOM!
After the last round, she tweeted her final position and remarked: “Felt so good this week hitting balls on the range next to one of my favourite golfers, Lexi Thompson.”
Charley, who is England’s number one, was promoted to fifth in the world amateur rankings the day before the championship began.
Earlier in the week she had been selected for the GB&I Curtis Cup team, after much controversy. The Ladies Golf Union had originally said that she made herself unavailable for selection by accepting her invitation to the Kraft Nabisco championship, instead of playing in a team trial. But the selectors overturned that decision.
The team was announced while she was in the States and Charley has spoken of her pleasure to the USGA: “I'm overwhelmed. I'm so happy, and I'd like to thank all the selectors. It should be great. We've got a great captain, Teg, so I'm really looking forward to it.
“I'm back on the team now. I was upset, obviously, but now I'm really happy that I'm back in it. Now it's history. I didn't think they were going to change it for me, but I'm glad they did. I can't wait for Nairn.”