RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – England's Charley Hull is back in the United States, and she wouldn’t mind staying for a while.
Hull was on the leaderboard early Thursday at the Kraft Nabisco Championship before a couple bogeys coming home left her with a 1-over-par 73, not a bad start on a tough scoring day at Mission Hills’ Dinah Shore Course.
Hull captured the imagination of American fans last summer when as a 17-year-old she helped the Europeans beat the United States in the Solheim Cup for the first time on American soil. She famously asked Paula Creamer for an autograph for a friend after defeating Creamer in Sunday singles. Being part of that European team earned Hull a spot in the year’s first major championship.
A member of the Ladies European Tour, Hull signed up for LPGA Qualifying School last summer, but she withdrew, deciding to remain on the LET.
“I just wanted to gain some experience in LPGA events like this first,” Hull told GolfChannel.com. “I will be going to LPGA Q-School this year.”
Hull, 18 now, broke through to win her first professional title last month in the LET’s Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco. She is allowed up to six sponsor exemptions into LPGA events and told GolfChannel.com she hopes to use them all. She has sponsor invites to the Swinging Skirts in three weeks and to the Kingsmill Championship next month.
Of course, if Hull wins an LPGA event this year, she won’t have to go to Q-School. A non-member who wins an LPGA event also wins a two-year exemption to the tour.
By the way, If Hull were to win this week, she would become the youngest winner of a women’s major, taking the honor from Morgan Pressel.
“If not for two bad clubs, I would be at 1 under,” Hull said. “I hit it all right. A low score tomorrow will put me back in it.”