Charley Hull found herself doing laps around the hotel room in Edinburgh. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, she said, players must sign up well in advance, to reserve a time to work out in the gym this week during the Aberdeen Stanford Investments Ladies Scottish Open.
“That’s one thing I like doing a lot,” said Hull. “Makes me feel a lot fresher, but it’s hard because there’s loads of people in the field this week and there’s probably only 16 spots a day for the gym, so it’s a bit crazy.”
So much of 2020 has been upended due to the coronavirus pandemic that players have learned to expect the unexpected. Nothing, however, could’ve prepared Hull for the raging wildfire that came barreling toward her last week at Wentworth during the Rose Ladies Series finale.
“We got caught off on the middle of the eighth fairway and it was behind the ninth green,” said Hull of the flames that broke out over Chobham Common in Surrey.
“It was really terrible and bad behind the 10th tee box. Saw a lot. And seeing this whole like 30-foot tree burning and within like seconds about 30 yards of land just on fire, it was really bad, sad.”
No one ran around screaming and yelling, she said. It was a shocked but orderly exit from the golf course.
Organizers of the Rose Series couldn’t find a time to reschedule the final round so they reverted back to 36-hole scores. Hull competed in all eight events in the series and won the Order of Merit, which offered a prize of 20,000 pounds. She also competed against the men in several Clutch Pro Tour events during the LPGA’s 166-day break in competition
“I won’t feel too nervous on the first tee tomorrow,” said Hull of her first round back on the LPGA.
Georgia Hall, the 2018 AIG Women’s British Open winner, was halfway down the seventh hole at Wentworth when she spotted the smoke rolling in.
“Wherever you looked, it was so orange and there was like black ashes just floating all around us,” she said, “which was very strange, and then obviously we had to evacuate. So it was a shame that we couldn’t finish.
“But I think it was about 20 yards from the actual ninth or 10th tee box, which they got extremely close. It was massive. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
Hall won back-to-back events on the Rose series and said the one-day events boosted her confidence going into this week.
“It’s easy to practice as much as possible,” she said, “but until you have a card in your hand, you can’t really tell how good your game; especially mentally, as well.”