Armed with an LPGA card, Charley Hull aims for LET cherry in Dubai to top

English teenager looking this week to pick up another end-of-season award in Dubai. Hull and Gwladys Nocera is a straight shootout for the European No 1 crown.
Charley Hull did well to finish joint-eighth in Dubai last year as a rookie and will be aiming for a good finish. Satish Kumar / The National
Charley Hull did well to finish joint-eighth in Dubai last year as a rookie and will be aiming for a good finish. Satish Kumar / The National

DUBAI // Jet-lagged and a little jaded, Charley Hull is relying on last year’s success at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters to carry her to another title this week.

The Englishwomen comes into the Ladies European Tour season finale on the back of a successful stint at LPGA Tour Q-School, which concluded in the United States late Sunday.

Hull had next to no time to bask in securing a conditional card for 2015, though, since she was soon en route to Orlando and then Dubai, via a two-hour stopover in Gatwick, England.

So she arrives in the Emirates slightly under par. However, with a €22,715 (Dh103,229) lead in the race for the Order of Merit and one event remaining, Hull seemed confident she can cap what has already been a fine season.

She is in a strong position. Gwladys Nocera, European no 1 in 2008, represents the only other contender for the top award in the 108-woman field, and needs to finish at least fourth to knock Hull off her perch. It probably explains her rival’s fairly relaxed attitude. That and the jet lag.

“I haven’t had as much time to prepare for this tournament obviously, but probably seeing it fresh won’t do me too much harm, not thinking about it so much,” Hull said.

At 18, she can conclude the year as the tour’s best player, by dint of a 2014 that includes seven top 10s and a first professional victory. Hull is in familiar territory, too, because 12 months ago she posted a tied-eighth finish on debut in Dubai to clinch rookie of the year honours. Amid a hectic schedule, she still found time to reminisce.

“Having some good memories from last year will definitely help me around here,” she said. “So hopefully another good finish to the season.”

Hull walks the first two rounds at Emirates Golf Club alongside Nocera, although true to form, that does not bother her, either.

“Yeah, I don’t mind playing with Gwladys,” she said. “I’m not playing her. I’m here to win the tournament, not to beat Gwladys.”

For Nocera, just being in this position ranks as a bonus. Sunday’s triumph at the Hero Indian Open lifted her to within range of Hull in the year-long rankings, not that she knew it.

“I heard on Saturday that I could win the Order of Merit,” Nocera said. “I didn’t expect to be in Dubai in that situation. But I don’t want to think of something that will happen only if I play well.”

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Published: December 9, 2014 04:00 AM


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