If there’s anyone that knows how to play Walton Heath Golf Club, it’s LPGA Tour winner Charley Hull. The 27-year-old hails from Woburn, England, which isn’t too far from Surrey, and unlike many of her 143 counterparts in the field at the AIG Women’s Open, Hull got to play the course earlier this year and knows what to expect from the historic, heathland venue this week.
“I played here back in, it was end of February, beginning of March,” Hull said. “I played with my friend, Thomas, and I really enjoyed it back then. It kind of suits my eye. I've played it a few times, but I've not played it off these tees. I've played it with my friends and we've both been off the backs, so it's actually playing quite short out there, and I think it will be very scoreable.”
The Englishwoman is making her 12th appearance at the AIG Women’s Open, and in her 11 previous starts, she has missed five cuts and recorded five top-25 finishes, the best of which is a tie for 12th that came at Royal Birkdale in 2014. In addition to that week in Southport, Lancashire, Hull has played in this major championship four other times in her home country, missing the cut in 2012 at Royal Liverpool and in 2018 at Royal Lytham and St. Annes and finishing T17 and T24 in 2016 and 2019, respectively, at Woburn Golf and Country Club, her home course.
Hull has been in a bit of a slump lately, missing three cuts in her last five starts, but her T2 performance at the U.S. Women’s Open will reassure those that might be in doubt about her game. Despite her recent struggles, she’s still ranked inside in the top 25 on the LPGA Tour in strokes gained around the green (7, +0.44), putting average (8, 29.02), putts per green in regulation (16, 1.77) and strokes gained total (24, +1.55).
Hull is a player that goes big or goes home, another characteristic that seems to bode well in majors, and as evidenced by her final-round, 6-under 66 at Pebble Beach Golf Links, there’s no end to what she can do on a golf course, even at challenging venues like Walton Heath. And it’s that unpredictability that can make Hull deadly, especially when it comes to field-leveling events like the AIG Women’s Open where the wind and weather take away any advantage that length or accuracy or consistency might provide in regular-season events.
“I'm a weird player like that. If I don't start with a birdie or if I don't start with a bogey, I just make a lot of pars, I get quite frustrated and bored,” said Hull, who moved from T7 to T2 on that final day in California last month. “But it's almost, if I start with a bogey, it's like, ‘I've got to fight back now’ and it's really interesting. And if I start with birdie, it's like, ‘Let's see how many holes I can birdie.’ I take that mindset of taking every shot as it comes because, at the end of the day, you've got plenty of chances for birdies out there.
“Obviously, you want to get off to a fast start because it gives you good momentum for the rest of the week. If you look at Pebble, I didn't have the fastest of starts, but still all about the mindset, and never give in. It's like my friend said, he always used to say to me, ‘Winners don't quit and quitters don't win.’ That's always stuck in my head.”