Charley Hull has a home-course advantage this week at the AIG Women's British Open at Woburn Golf Club: She's been a member for about eight years. But she says she spends most of her time on the Dutchess course, because it's more narrow than the Marquess' course, where the championship is being played. You'd think that in the weeks and months leading up to the event, Hull would have started playing the tournament course as much as possible, but she says she's played it only twice this year.
Playing in her home country of England, at a course where she's a member, Hull is doing everything she can to shrug away the inherent pressure. "I just felt like I'd not try to make it a big thing," Hull said on Wednesday. "I just wanted to prepare for a normal tournament how I would."
Hull's strategy appears to be working. She shot a bogey-free, five-under-par 67 in the first round.
Making the round even more impressive: Hull was in the hospital just two weeks ago, getting testing done for a salmonella infection she said she contracted at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship in June.
"I feel much better now, which is good," Hull said. "It would go, and then it would come back. It was a strange bug, food poisoning."
It's good that Hull is back to full health, because Woburn, at 6,756 yards, is the longest Women's British Open setup in history. In 2016, the event was at Woburn but was set up far shorter. Hull finished T-17 that year, and Ariya Jutanugarn was the champion.
"It definitely played quite short," Hull said of 2016. "I think this golf course does suit a player that's longer because the holes are designed for the back tees, so it's nice they're playing it back because it makes the holes real good ... that's how they should be played."
Hull, who is No. 27 in the world, averages 268.5 yards off the tee, ranking her the 26th on the LPGA Tour. Not only was she long off the tee on Thursday, she said she hit a tee shot she's been missing for the past several years. On the 13th hole, she hit the fairway for the first time in three years.
"I'd always love to win a major, especially on home turf," Hull said on Wednesday. "I think it would be great. But just going to go out there and enjoy it, and the more I enjoy it, hopefully it gives me a chance to win out there."
Hull is two back of the early first-round leader, Ashleigh Buhai.