Charley Hull made a brilliant start to her Ricoh Women’s British Open debut at Hoylake today - unlike her caddie.
Only after she completed a one under par 71 to be one off the early lead was the Kettering 16-year-old told that her bag-carrier had had his motorcycle stolen outside his Liverpool hotel.
“My dad told him not to mention it to me during the round,” said Hull, who after being part of the winning Curtis Cup side in June hopes to turn professional later this year.
The caddie made it to the course in time by calling for a taxi and saw the world’s eighth-ranked amateur birdie two of the first five holes to share top spot with Australia’s three-time winner Karrie Webb.
Hull dropped a stroke at the 382-yard eighth after driving into the rough and going over the green, but it proved to be her only bogey and 10 closing pars kept her on the leaderboard.
“I just pretend I’m just playing with my mates,” she added. “I know it’s a major, but that’s how I try to treat it and I wasn’t very nervous because I don’t have expectations.”
With one to play Webb had fallen back to one under herself and instead it was England’s Felicity Johnson and South Korean Haeji Kang who led the way at two under - Kang after 15 holes, but Johnson after only three.
Taiwan’s world number one Yani Tseng began her bid for an unprecedented third successive victory in the event with a level-par 72 and then headed off to Liverpool with her mother to go on a Beatles tour.
Britain’s last winner Catriona Matthew - she triumphed at Lytham three years ago - managed only a four over 76. That included a seven on the long fifth after she went into the bushes over the green.
Hull is not the youngest player in the field. That is 15-year-old New Zealander Lydia Ko, who tops the world amateur rankings and last month in Canada became the youngest-ever winner of an LPGA Tour title.
Ko was two under after 10 holes, but then fell back alongside Tseng, while American star Paula Creamer had a 73- and 52-year-old compatriot Juli Inkster a seven-over 79.
Their Solheim Cup teammate Michelle Wie was among the afternoon starters and kicked off with a double bogey six.
Playing partner Carly Booth, making her major debut as leader of this season’s money list on the European Ladies Tour, did the same at the 405-yard third, while 48-year-old Laura Davies began with two pars.