After the airlines lost her clubs, Charley Hull vaults into contention at 2024 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship

SAMMAMISH, Wa. – Charley Hull likes to arrive at tournaments as late as possible. She took the last flight out of London on Monday night to Seattle, but her clubs didn’t make it. The British Airways misfortune was compounded by the fact that her gym shoes were in the golf bag.

So there she was on Tuesday, stressed at the airport at the start of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship as the airline tried to track down her valuables.

Hull eventually reunited with her clubs, but didn’t get a look at Sahalee Country Club until Wednesday, though she did finish 16th when the championship was here eight years ago. Hull said she can’t remember the last time she played an 18-hole practice round.

“I had really, really bad stomach cramps yesterday as well,” said Hull, “but I had to play.”

The good news is that the majestically tree-lined Sahalee feels like home to Hull, who said the Duchess Course at her home club of Woburn is quite similar only longer. Hull opened with a 2-under 70 and sits in a long-jam of players who are one back of clubhouse leader Nelly Korda.

Charley Hull of England watches a tee shot on the 12th hole during the first round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club on June 20, 2024 in Sammamish, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Hull made only one bogey – a “very silly three-putt” – and said she felt good about the day until she pulled a hip muscle late in the round.

“I have bad hips anyway,” she said, “and it just clicked out with like three holes to play. Hopefully some physio and it will be all right.”

Hull, currently No. 8 in the world, had a pair of runner-up finishes at the majors last season but has yet to win one. She enjoys the challenge that Sahalee presents because it requires her to stay focused.

“This golf course feels like home to me,” said Hull, a self-described golf fanatic who played eight rounds in seven days – walking with her carry bag  while she was home.

A two-time winner on the LPGA, Hull went viral at the U.S. Women’s Open last month after she was filmed signing autographs with a cigarette in her mouth. She took the attention in stride, noting that while her agent typically does her social media, she’d heard she’d gained 70,000 followers in the span of two days.

Hull’s friends often say she should have her own reality television show.

“I’m just me,” said Hull who, for the record, is trying to quit smoking.

“I’m not going to change for the world. I’ll just be me, and people will either like it or lump it.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek