Englishwoman Charley Hull fell just short at the Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G, losing in a two-hole playoff to Australian Minjee Lee to pick up her fifth top-10 result of the season. Starting the day two shots behind Lee at 13-under, Hull just couldn’t seem to catch up to the major champion early, finally making up some ground late on the back nine. Hull's second shot on the par-5 12th hole found the water and Lee hit it out of bounds with the pair making bogey and double bogey, respectively, to put Lee up three shots over Hull. Hull then caught fire just two holes later, rattling off three consecutive birdies on holes 14, 15 and 16 to tie things up with two to play. The duo then matched pars on the final two holes and went back to the 18th tee for a playoff.
On the first playoff hole, both Hull and Lee again made par on the challenging par 4, with Hull nearly ending things after leaving a lengthy putt from off the green just a revolution short, but ultimately another hole was needed to decide the champion. Each player found the left rough with their tee shots on the second playoff hole and Hull went first, hitting her approach to approximately 15 feet. Lee then ran her second shot up to less than two feet, and after Hull missed her birdie putt low, Lee tapped in for birdie to capture her ninth career LPGA Tour victory and first since the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club.
While Hull was of course disappointed with the result, she was proud of her final-round effort, despite not feeling like she had her best stuff on Sunday at Kenwood Country Club. Her runner-up result is her fourth T2 or better of the 2023 LPGA Tour season, a statistic that has the 27-year-old excited as she looks ahead to the Solheim Cup, a title defense at the Ascendant LPGA benefitting Volunteers of America and the CME Group Tour Championship later this season, giving her plenty of confidence as the end of her ninth season on the LPGA Tour looms large.
“I felt like I actually got off to a bit of a slow start. Should have made birdie at two but the greens are so firm today, and to putt on them was quite like glass. Fought back towards the end and made a few birdies coming in,” said Hull, who also finished runner-up at the 2023 Aramco Team Series – London on the Ladies European Tour. “Minjee played well in the playoff. We both hit some good shots. I thought I had my putt on the first playoff hole; half a ball short, and she just hit a fantastic shot in on the final playoff hole. I thought I hit a good shot into 15 feet and she's hit it into three feet. At the end of the day, she was leading going into the final round and I done my best.
“Obviously, I won in Texas last year and Tour Championships as well, two golf courses that I like. Just looking forward to it. Be traveling with my friends. They'll be coming over and watching, so it'll be good.”
With the Solheim Cup on deck in just over a week, few on the European team are in better form or are more excited than Hull. This year at Finca Cortesin in Andalucia, Spain marks her sixth appearance in the biennial team competition, an event in which she boasts an 11-5-3 record, and will be her first time playing for captain Suzann Pettersen, a player she’s looked up to throughout her LPGA Tour career. Plus, this week in Cincinnati, Ohio will serve as an excellent confidence boost for Hull, one that will carry her through an off week spent at home in England working with her coach and one that will have her raring to go once Team Europe touches down in Spain.
“I'm looking forward to Solheim. I'm looking forward to doing some work next week with my coach and just getting into it again and closing out the season. But I'm looking forward to working hard this winter, and Solheim I'm looking forward to,” said Hull. “Suzann is gonna be a great captain. She's one of my favorite players ever to play the game, so it's pretty cool. Wish she was on the team.”