Date: December 03, 2008
Author: Paul Gough, Sportal

Hull aiming high

Katherine Hull, the in-form player on the LPGA tour this year, has set her sights on dethroning Karrie Webb as Australia&aposs top-ranked female golfer next year. Hull, who was ranked 13th on the LPGA money list this year with earnings of over $US 1 million ($A1.5 million), has returned home after a busy year and was in Melbourne on Tuesday promoting the upcoming Australian Women&aposs Open to be played for the first time at Melbourne&aposs famous sandbelt course The Metropolitan from February 12-15. The 26-year-old is now Australia&aposs No.2 ranked player behind Webb after a stellar season in which she not only broke through for her first tour victory in the CN Canadian Open but then went on to finish in the top 10 in six of her next 10 tournaments. The Queenslander looms as one of the star attractions for what is expected to be a strong field for the Australian Women&aposs Open in February – a field that will also include Webb and big-hitting Englishwoman Laura Davies. But Hull is determined to improve on her breakthrough season in 2008 when she plays four tournaments in Australia early in the New Year before returning to the United States. “I would love to get to No.1,” Hull said on Tuesday. “Karrie (Webb) has put golf on the map for all of us Aussies and has raised the benchmark and challenged us all to work harder and she has been a great ambassador for golf and it would be nice to try to chase her down.” Hull said her victory in Canada had given her the belief that she could now beat the game&aposs best players and win major tournaments. “It was a huge confidence boost,” she said of her maiden LPGA tour victory. “I didn&apost expect to win because I was six shots behind going into the final round but anything is possible in golf and it was a big thing to win and be in contention and it gave me a lot to work on in the last part of the season and I was able to finish off well.” And now she is hungry for more success. “Very much so, I would have liked another win to finish the year but it didn&apost happen but it has given me more hunger for next year.” As for her stunning improvement in 2008, Hull said it was due to “a combination of things.” “Golf wise it was only a matter of time before everything I had been working on with my coach kicked in and I had been working hard on my fitness and I got a new caddie too so it&aposs been a real team effort,” she said. The Australian Women&aposs Open at The Metropolitan will be the last of four events to be held early in the New Year and Hull says she is looking forward to a rare opportunity to play in Australia. “I am looking forward to playing in front of the home crowds – we&aposve got the New South Wales Open in Sydney then the New Zealand Open, the ANZ Ladies&apos Masters on the Gold Coast and then we come back here for the Aussie Open,” she said. “And to play at The Metropolitan, I have heard it s a great golf course and all the girls are excited about playing the course and Melbourne is such a great city to play golf in.”