ORMOND BEACH, Fla.(Jan. 15, 2011)-- When the flag went up Saturday at Oceanside Country Club, Charley Hull didn’t waste any time resuming the chase she began the day before. After an opening birdie that immediately cut leader Jaye Marie Green’s advantage to a single shot, Hull put her head down and proceeded to birdie three of her next six holes.
The charge very nearly caught Green off-guard.
“She birdied four of her first seven,” Green explained after the round. “I didn’t know what to do. I was like, ‘Jaye, just keep up with her, just do the best you can.’ ”
A duel was born at the par-4 third, where Green stuck her approach to 3 feet and logged the first of four birdies on the front side. She never gave up her lead, though Hull pulled even at the fifth.
Hull cooled off after No. 7, site of her fourth birdie of the morning, just as Green turned up the heat. Birdies at Nos. 8 and 9 sent the momentum decidely in her favor as she took a three-shot lead into the back nine.
“I wasn’t really thinking about me chasing her, I was thinking about me going for what I wanted to shoot, not about what she was shooting, which I learned from being there a few times,” Green explained.
Green closed with a 5-under 67 she didn’t think was even possible during the first round. Green wound up at 5-under 283, four shots ahead of Hull. Ashlan Ramsay and Ericka Schneider finished T-3 at 7-over 295 with Victoria Tanco another shot back.
After a year that saw Green qualify for the U.S Women’s Open at Oakmont then win her first AJGA Invitational title at the Polo Golf Junior Invitational, she looked every bit the seasoned veteran at The Sally. With the wind at her back, Green faced a 200-yard shot to hit the par-5 17th in two – a shot she had pulled off in Round 3. She pulled a 3-wood and a 7-iron before choosing the safe shot, and in the end expanding her margin of victory to four shots when she birdied and Hull parred.
“If I make bogey and she makes birdie then it’s flipped, I’m only leading by one going into the last hole so I’m just like, ‘Why would you throw away a good round right now? You could still birdie it either way, it’s not like going for it is the only way you could birdie it,” Green reasoned.
Green, who recently committed to the University of Florida for the fall of 2012, hails from nearby Boca Raton, where she takes online classes from Florida Virtual University. Normally Green skips The Sally in favor of the Harder Hall, but this year did the opposite. She’ll continue on the Orange Blossom Circuit at next week’s Ione D. Jones/Doherty, played at Coral Ridge Country Club in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Her dad and swing coach, Donnie, used to be the head pro there.
Hull, also in her Sally debut, had squeaked onto the radar during Round 3 with a 3-under 69 in a cold, harsh wind. The 14-year-old native of England calls playing in the wind one of her strengths. Green, meanwhile, knew to keep an eye out for her come Saturday.
“I knew she was from England, but that was pretty much it,” Green said. “Sixty-nine yesterday from her, no one just goes out and shoots that.”
Hull spent the final round nestling long irons up against the hole, capitalizing when she could. She finished with a second consecutive 69 Saturday, but said scoring wasn’t on her mind.
“I think it was the sixth or seventh hole and I thought (Jaye Marie) was like three, four ahead of me but I looked and it was pretty level,” Hull said. “I didn’t mean to look.”
Hull, a member at Woburn Golf Club in England, is hitting the Orange Blossom Circuit for the first time. After a 12th-place finish at the Harder Hall last week, she will stick around for the Jones/Doherty, then head home.
Hull’s list of tournament accomplishments includes wins at the Leveret and the Hampshire Rose, as well as a runner-up finish at the German Ladies Open. She missed qualifying for last year’s Women’s British Open by one shot.
A petite, soft-spoken blonde, Hull has a swing aggressive in tempo but abbreviated in length that made Oceanside members take notice. If she keeps up this kind of play, it might earn her a spot on the 2012 GB&I Curtis Cup team. Hull, however, isn’t hinging her year on it.
“I don’t find it that big,” she said nonchalantly. “I’d like to play in it.”