At the 2013 Solheim Cup last August Carlota Ciganda and Charley Hull fist pumped and high-fived each other to a shared and exhilarating Team Europe victory. This week in China they will meet as fierce competitors. Hull is seeking her maiden victory on the Ladies European Tour at the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open and Ciganda is defending her 2012 championship.
Beginning Friday Hull, a 17-year-old LET rookie, will tee up in the three-round Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open in a field of 114 international competitors from the LET, China LPGA and Ladies Asian Golf Tour.
Ranked 9th on the LET Order of Merit after 12 tournaments, Hull feels she’ll have a better chance of success this week after recording a tie for 35th at the Sanya Ladies Open last week in tropical Hainan, on her first visit to China.
I played quite well last week but the putts didn’t drop for me in the last couple of rounds. . . I think the greens are a lot better from last week because this week they are rolling nicely, with no grain and they are pretty pure. I think I’ve got as good a chance as any week if I just keep patient . . .
Charley Hull, Putting Problems at the Sanya Ladies Open
Hull’s incredible first pro golf season started with five straight second place finishes in Morocco, South Africa, Turkey, Holland and Germany. She then became the youngest Solheim Cup player in history after receiving a pick from Liselotte Neumann, and she played a starring role on the first ever European team to win in America at Colorado Golf Club.
GolfWeek graded both Hull’s and Ciganda’s Solheim performances as As, but Ciganda, at 3-0-0, played a slightly stronger Solheim game than Hull, at 2-0-0.
For Hull, the highlights of her season include defeating Paula Creamer by 5 and 4 in the Solheim Cup singles – before asking the US star to autograph a golf ball for her boyfriend – as well as finishing three strokes behind Holly Clyburn in the Deloitte Ladies Open, played in bitterly cold and windy conditions at The International, a new links-style course in Amsterdam.
Reflecting on her season, Hull said: “The Solheim Cup was great, when I beat Paula Creamer, but then probably Holland was a good event for me, in the final round. I was about seven behind and I caught the lead after 14 holes and made a couple of bogeys in. It was very windy on the last day and I played really well.”
There’s no question that Charley Hull is a strong, talented, fearless golfer who’s blasted her way through the ranks and has a bright future in pro golf. But Ciganda is the more consistent player of the two, has demonstrated an ability to get of out trouble quickly and to take advantage of every scoring opportunity that comes her way. I give Ciganda the edge at the Suzhou.