LET: Charley Hull, Holly Clyburn Chase Rookie of the Year


Thirty-five rookies joined the LPGA Tour in 2013 and twelve joined the Ladies European Tour.  These 47 rookies together offer a lens through which we fans can take a peek at the future of the sport.  They all began their year-long race for the 2013 LET & LPGA Rookie of the Year awards when the LET season opened at the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters in Canberra, Australia and the LPGA Tour opened its season at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in February.   They’ve played their hears out for months, and now the results are in.  The LPGA Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year was awarded last week and the LET results will come to a close in Dubai this week.

Solheim Cup teen phenom Charley Hull will be hoping to seal the LET Rookie of the Year title with a victory in this week’s Omega Dubai Ladies Masters being held under the patronage of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at Emirates Golf Club.

Charley Hull of England, Hoping for LET Rookie of the Year. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh from posting a strong top-five finish in the Hero Women’s Indian Open, the 17-year old Hull is currently leading the standings in earnings on the Ladies European Tour, followed closely by sister Englishwoman Holly Clyburn.   Hull’s rookie season has been impressive and includes 9 top-10 finishes and 5 straight runner-up finishes in addition to her stand-out Solheim performance.

Does Hull have what it takes to win the Dubai Ladies Masters? The supremely confident teen answered with a resounding yes!

"My game is good enough this year. I’ve had a great season and just need that first win to top the season off. Hopefully, I’ll win this week . . .Charley Hull"

“I really can’t wait to get to Dubai, to be honest. I’m so excited and I’ve been counting down the days because I’ve never been before and I’ve heard it’s really good,” Hull said before leaving New Delhi today.

Moira Jutanugarn, 2013 LPGA Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year

The LET Rookie of the Year will stand alongside Thailand’s Moira Jutanugarn, who took home a special piece of hardware when she became the first-ever Thai player to win the LPGA Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year last week.  Together the two awardees will point the way to the future.

"It has a lot of meaning . . .I feel like I did it for my country, for my family, for my fans, for Thailand. Moira Jutanugarn"

Jutanugarn grabbed  the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year lead early in the season until Caroline Masson of France went on a mid-season run.  Like Hull, Masson is a European Solheim Cup Team rookie who delivered an outstanding athletic performance in Parker, Colorado.  Masson trailed Jutanugarn by five points entering the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola, then notched two top-10 finishes to snatch the lead for a time.

Masson maintained the lead and held a mere 11-point advantage entering last week’s CME Group Titleholders.  Masson finished T61 in the season’s final event while Jutanugran fired rounds of 70-72-74-72 to finish in a tie for 33rd and edged Masson by one point to become the first-ever player from Thailand to win a season-ending award on the LPGA Tour.

Rookie years are tough.  How does one establish a balance between the weekly performance demands of a professional athletic career, the constant travel, the blurring passages back and forth across time zones, and personal needs?  The security and constancy of a stable home life?  The management of personal relationships?  Surviving the rookie year involves a good bit more than playing great golf, even though playing great golf is how the Rookie of the Year is designated.  To survive the rookie year and hold on to your card is no small accomplishment.  To walk away with the Rookie of the Year award is a promise of great things to come!