Charley Hull is just 18 and already bears witness to the fact that in golf, the lines are incredibly fine. A lipped putt there or a bad bounce there are enough to win and lose tournaments.
On the Gold Coast last week, she took a triple bogey seven on the sixth hole of the final round when she was leading the Australian Ladies Masters, and ultimately lost by three shots to Su Oh of Australia.
This week, the came to the par-four sixth hole on Thursday with a nice, uphill five-metre birdie putt to ponder, and walked off with a double bogey. Her first putt was rammed past the cup, and three strokes later it was in the hole. Again, one bad hole has been costly.
Two rounds into the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open the English wunderkind is within sight of the lead if a little regretful about her blow-up on Thursday.
"I just four-putted that hole and it just didn’t go in, and then I had a couple of three-putts as well,'' she said. "Probably it’s just learning from experience. I just feel like sometimes I can get a bit ahead of myself and do silly stuff like that but I feel like I concentrate well after and try and get them back, like I usually make birdie a couple of holes after. So I do think that four-putt cost me quite a few shots but, at the end of the day, I’ve learned from it so hopefully it won’t happen again.”
Hull, the No. 1 player on the Ladies European Tour last year, carded a second consecutive 71 on Royal Melbourne's composite course to reach four-under par for the tournament. At the time she signed her card, she was just two shots from the lead.
The crowds would have been impressed by her length off the tee, which she estimates at "280-ish'' (yards) depending on run-out. Quite often today she chose three wood off the tee to keep herself from running through the doglegs, yet at the long ninth, she needed just three wood and seven iron. At the par-four 18th, she boomed such a long drive that she was flicking it to the green with a wedge.
Hull is a full member of the LPGA now and intends dancing between Europe and America this year.
She played the first two rounds with world No. 1 Lydia Ko, who is just 17, and there is a sense of a rivalry developing.
"I enjoy playing with Lydia,'' said Hull. "I’ve played with her quite a bit over the past two years. I first played with her two years ago straight after the Solheim Cup in the Canadian Open and we both played well, both like at the top of the leaderboard in the first two rounds, so I have good memories playing with Lydia and I enjoy it.''