Date: February 10, 2009

Hull cruises home at Royal Pines

Courtesy: Ladies European Tour Australian Katherine Hull cruised to a five stroke victory at the ANZ Ladies Masters at RACV Royal Pines Resort in Australia on Sunday and confirmed her status as one of her country s fastest rising golf stars. Hull, who began the final round with a three stroke lead over fellow Australian Tamie Durdin, recorded a winning total of 16-under-par 272. The 26-year old LPGA Tour regular fired rounds of 69, 67, 68 and 68 and became the third Australian to win the tournament in its 20-year history, after Jane Crafter and Karrie Webb. If anyone would have said to me that I would shoot four rounds in the 60s I would have been absolutely ecstatic, said Hull, who collected a winner s cheque for AUD$90,000. I dreamt about this as a kid. It hasn t quite sunk in yet. There are so many great names on the trophy and you walk past the framed pictures of the winners and you wish you had your picture up there. Now I m going to be up there so I m just stoked. I couldn’t have written the story any better this week. Durdin, who faded in the final round of last year s tournament at Royal Pines, held her nerve and closed with a 70 to tie for second with promising young Korean So Yeon Ryu, who shot 66. For me it was a win. I did not crumble. I was disappointed to make bogey up the last, said Durdin, who plays on the Japanese tour. Considering how she played, I could not really ask for much more. Last year s European No.1 Gwladys Nocera (67) tied for fourth with Australian Sarah Kemp (68), American Mollie Fankhauser (70) and world No.2 Yani Tseng (66). Nocera also took the early lead on the Ladies European Tour s 2009 New Star Money List. Hull claimed her breakthrough win at the Canadian Women’s Open in Ottawa in August, which was her first win in five years on the US LPGA Tour. She had been close to victory over the last two weeks as a runner-up at the LG Bing NSW Ladies Open a fortnight ago and was joint second at last week s New Zealand Women’s Open. With over US$1 million on the US LPGA Tour last year, she finished 13th on the money list and is being tipped by some to challenge Karrie Webb as the future Australian No.1. To follow in Karrie s footsteps would be awesome because she’s done so much and at such a young age. She has raised the bar for us Aussies. To be held in the same sentence as her is an honour. I d love to go out there and win next week and get into the same category, Hull said. Her final round began in perfect fashion when she birdied the first hole establishing a four stroke lead but Durdin edged within two when she birdied the sixth hole. Hull turned in two-under 35 with a three stroke advantage and effectively sealed the win with three consecutive birdies from the 12th. She led by six shots before taking her sole bogey at the last hole. Six-time Masters winner Karrie Webb had an unhappy 73 to finish in joint 30th on three-under-par. She blamed poor putting and a double bogey at the start of her round but was looking forward to defending next week s Women’s Australian Open at Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne.