THE ACHIEVEMENT is remarkable in itself, but the way in which 17-year-old Charley Hull claimed her first title on the Ladies European Tour on Sunday was nothing short of awesome.
Hull shot a brilliant final round of 62 to come from five strokes behind Gwladys Nocera and force a play-off with the Frenchwoman at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco. The young Englishwoman then won on the first extra hole with a superb birdie.
It’s great to see Hull, who shot to fame with a starring role in Europe’s Solheim Cup victory last year and finished runner-up in her first five tour events, fulfilling her talent.
She is a phenomenon; the most exciting female golfing talent this country has produced since Laura Davies. Hull will do extremely well to match the four-time Major winner, but what she has on her side is that she works very hard to make the most of her natural ability.
Two more results at the weekend – the victories of Alejandro Canizares and John Senden after both had endured eight-year title droughts – demonstrated the importance of putting in the hours of practice.
Neither the Spaniard nor the Australian may have won trophies since 2006, but they retained their tour cards and kept knocking at the door. Winning is not easy, but if you do that, every now and then the breaks will come along.
This week sees many of the big names assemble in Orlando for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, including the world’s top four for the first time this season. Much of the attention will be on how Tiger Woods – and the world No1’s back – cope, after he withdrew, citing injury, from the WGC Cadillac Championship earlier this month. When fit, he certainly seems in control of his game.
Another man to watch out for is Patrick Reed, who won at Doral and is looking to emulate Woods and Ernie Els by winning both there and at Bay Hill in the same year. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares.
English pair Luke Donald and Justin Rose also look to be finding form as the Masters looms next month. Both had chances to win the Valspar Championship at the weekend and Donald in particular seems to be enjoying the changes to his swing.
Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam
FACTFILE: CHARLEY HULL
Hull’s first Ladies European Tour title came at the same tournament – the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco – at which she made her pro debut in 2013
The Englishwoman, who turns 18 on Thursday, beat boys 10 years her senior while just seven and already has lifetime membership of her local club