Hull set for Slovakia test

English golfing sensation Charley Hull is set to star in the Allianz Ladies Slovak Open this week when the fifth edition of the event takes place over four rounds at Golf Resort Tále near Brezno from Thursday.

The 18-year-old may have tied for 40th in her first appearance at the venue 12 months ago, but since then she has enjoyed success on the world stage that reads like a Hollywood script.

The teenager from Woburn Golf Club, ranked 34th in the world, began her professional career 15 months ago by posting five straight second place finishes on the Ladies European Tour. She then became the youngest competitor to compete in The Solheim Cup aged 17, where she won two of her three points, beating Paula Creamer in the singles, by five and four.

She finished off the 2013 season as Rookie of the Year and continued in the same fashion in 2014, becoming a tournament champion by winning the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco in March, days before her 18th birthday. Since then has backed it up by finishing tied for seventh at the Kraft Nabisco Championship – the first major of the year – and then shared third at the Airbus LPGA Classic in Mobile, Alabama.

Hull, the current leader of the Ladies European Tour’s ISPS HANDA order of merit, has earned €93,940 from five LET events this season and is €30,587 clear of second placed Gwladys Nocera. The Frenchwoman has opened up the opportunity for Hull to move even further ahead on the Order of Merit this week, as Nocera has opted to play in the US Women’s Open rather than defend her title.

It presents Hull with a fantastic opportunity to claim a second trophy and she said: “My last few results have been very good, especially on the LPGA Tour. However I’m not thinking too far ahead; just one shot at a time, and hopefully that will be enough to win.”

“I’m more confident than 12 months ago and I’ve learnt a lot because I have gained much more experience. Overall I feel fitter and stronger physically and I’ve been working hard at my game.”

On the challenge of the picturesque and mountainous Gray Bear Golf Course, which doubles as a ski resort in winter, she added: “It is a golf course with lots of slopes! You have to position your tee shots correctly. I enjoyed it but last year I didn’t play that well, so hopefully I’ll play better this year. It is a really good test of golf.”

Joining Hull will be fellow 2014 tournament winners Valentine Derrey from France, who won the Dinard Ladies Open on the LET Access Series on Sunday and is ranked third on the order of merit and Kylie Walker of Scotland, ranked seventh on the tour. They form part of the field of 126 players from 33 countries that will compete for a €41,250 first prize as part of a €275,000 purse.