By John Strege
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Charming Charley is back, she of the talent that is exceeded only by her nature and maturity.
When last seen in the U.S., England's Charley Hull was defeating Paula Creamer, 5 and 4, in Solheim Cup singles outside Denver lst summer, then asking Creamer for her autograph.
On Saturday, barely two weeks past her 18th birthday, Hull shot the best round of the day on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills, a six-under par 66 to climb into third place and in range of leader Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie.
It won't be known until tomorrow how her game will stand up to major championship pressure, but she already has the mindset with which to deal with it.
"This is how I always look at golf. I'm not going to die if I hit a bad shot," Hull famously said last year. "Just hit it, and find it, and hit it again."
Less than three weeks ago, Hull won for the first time as a professional, at the Ladies European Tour's Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco. She decided last year not to pursue LPGA membership just yet.
"I was rally enjoying my friends and stuff at home," she said, "just being a kid, being with my friends, going out, going to parties and stuff. I don't want to miss that living over here full-time at the moment. I was sitll 17 at the time. I still would wanted my childhood in a way. There was no rush for me to go over there."
Meanwhile, she will attempt to play some LPGA events on sponsor exemptions. She has two so far -- the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in San Francisco later this month, and the Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Va., two weeks later.
(Getty Images photo)