SOUTHPORT, England – Katherine Hull will learn from her Ricoh Women’s British Open experience. That’s the upside to losing to Yani Tseng.
The downside is that the loss raises serious doubts about her short game. At least Hull acknowledged she needs more work with the money clubs if she is to pull off a major in future.
Hull would have been crowned Women’s British Open champion had she been sharper around the greens. In fact, she would have won had she been able to get up-and-down on the 17th and 18th holes. Instead she took three shots from beside both greens and walked away as runner-up instead of champion.
Hull found the fringe grass to the right side of par-5 17th in two shots and three-putted from there. Then she went through the green at 18 and took another three shots to get up-and-down.
Her chip on 18 looked like it belonged to handicap golfer instead of a top player. She dunched it to about 15 feet and missed. She would have forced a playoff had she got up-and-down.
She might even have won since her birdie would have made Tseng’s 6-foot par putt seem just that bit longer and feel a lot more tense.
“My mechanics and technique are great,” Hull said. “I’ve just got to do more practice. It’s a confidence thing. I’ve got to lock it in when it really counts.”
Pressure and how you deal with it plays a huge part in winning tournaments, winning majors. Hull’s long game stood up to the pressure of playing in the final twosome on the golf course. She was impressive in that department considering she was contending for her first major title.
“When you’re out there, all you’re trying to do is execute your game plan and hit the best shots you can,” Hull said. “I’m actually really happy that I stayed committed to the process as opposed to thinking too much about the results. I was really happy with my ball striking the entire week.”
Hull takes great credit away from Royal Birkdale. She entered the final round four shots behind Tseng and pushed her all the way. She didn’t back off. A better short game and she’d have joined Karrie Webb and Jan Stephenson as Australian major winners, and Webb, Karen Lunn and Corrine Dibnah as Australian winners of the Women’s British Open.
The 28–year-old Australian proved over four days that she is made of the right stuff to win one the tournaments that define a player’s career. Hull was impressive in the way she handled herself in the aftermath of losing. The affable Aussie was upbeat as she faced the media when she must have been hurting inside.
She’s got the game. It only needs refining.
No prize for guessing what Hull is going to be working on this winter.