Georgia Hall heads into LPGA Q-School with momentum off Solheim Cup

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Georgia Hall heads into LPGA Q-School with momentum off Solheim Cup

LPGA Tour

Georgia Hall heads into LPGA Q-School with momentum off Solheim Cup

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the September 2017 print issue of Golfweek.

Ten days after Georgia Hall hit her last shot at the Solheim Cup, it all still seemed surreal.

“I probably don’t realize that I played in it,” said Hall, a breakout star who’s headed to LPGA Q-School this fall.

Strangers now recognize her at home on the streets in Bournemouth in the south of England. She’s amazed by how many people actually watched the LPGA’s crown jewel on her side of the pond. There were record-setting crowds in West Des Moines, Iowa, and they helped
send Hall off the 18th tee on Sunday with gusto.

The 21-year-old Solheim rookie hadn’t planned on hitting her opening tee shot in the singles session through a chorus of rowdy cheers. But when she drew Paula Creamer as an opponent, Hall figured she’d better crank up the volume. Few can get a crowd in a frenzy like Creamer.

It was so loud on that first tee at Des Moines Country Club on Sunday, Hall figures more than a few Americans must have joined in with the couple dozen or so Euros in the gallery.

“It took me three holes to stop shaking,” she said, laughing. “But I would’ve done it again.”

Hall, who went 2-3-0 in Europe’s losing effort, was the only player on either side to play all five matches.

Not bad for the 48th-ranked player in the world who first stepped into an intense spotlight at last month’s Ricoh Women’s British Open, when she played in the final group Sunday. She ultimately tied for third at Kingsbarns Golf Links.

Hall has spent most of her young career in the shadow of Charley Hull, a fellow English player of the same age (they’re actually 23 days apart) whose father also worked as a plasterer. Both are delightful in their own ways. While Hull captivated Solheim audiences as a 17-year-old, Hall’s coming-out party was four years later and equally memorable.

Both squared off against Creamer in singles. Hull won and then asked Creamer for an autograph; Hall lost but received high praise from the American star.

“I see a lot of me in her,” said Creamer, “just that grinder, doesn’t matter where it’s at.”

WEST DES MOINES, IA – AUGUST 19: Georgia Hall of Team Europe plays a shot during the second day morning foursomes matches of The Solheim Cup at Des Moines Golf and Country Club on August 19, 2017 in West Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Hall’s hard-working mentality stems from the reality that this hasn’t been easy. She won the 2013 British Ladies Amateur but then had to turn down invitations to three major championships because she couldn’t afford to play in them.

It was a write-up in the local press about having to skip the ANA Inspiration that actually landed Hall not only her agent, but her first sponsor – Berenberg, a German bank. She now also counts Ricoh and Callaway apparel as supporters and hopes more will follow in the coming months.

Hall’s parents named their eldest Georgia in tribute to Nick Faldo’s triumph at the 1996 Masters. She didn’t find out about the story behind her name until she was a 9-year-old playing off a 10-handicap.

Hall left school at age 16, staying with her studies longer than her parents actually desired. At the 2013 Women’s British Open at St. Andrews, Hall was at the airport when she found out that officials had mistakenly told her she’d missed out on low amateur honors. Turns out she actually shared the Smyth Salver with a bespectacled Kiwi named Lydia Ko. Once again, the spotlight had eluded her.

Hall turned professional in 2014 and used all her winnings in her first year on the Ladies European Tour to pay her expenses.

Six months after she turned pro, Hall aced the 15th hole at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters to win a Mercedes-Benz car. She had only 200 pounds in the bank going into Dubai and didn’t have a driver’s license, so she took the cash alternative. She finished the week 38th.

Hall’s stroke average has gone down considerably each season on the LET, and she heads into the Evian Masters third on the tour’s Order of Merit.

Hall’s world ranking exempts her into the second stage of LPGA Q-School on Oct. 16-22 at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Fla. Should she advance, Hall will vie for a tour card at the final stage Nov. 30-Dec. 3.

If the Solheim Cup is any indication of how Hall will handle the pressure, then expect to see her full time on the LPGA in 2018. Solheim partner Anna Nordqvist deemed Hall a superstar who played fearlessly.

European captain Annika Sorenstam certainly left Iowa impressed. U.S. captain Juli Inkster did too, calling her a “great player” with spunk.

“This stage is big,” said Sorenstam, “and (Hall) has performed beautifully.”

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