Canadian feast or famine for Hull

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:41 AM ET

It’s either feast or famine for Katherine Hull on Canadian soil.

The 28-year-old Australian won the CN Canadian Women’s Open in 2008 when it was held in Ottawa, but last year she missed the cut in Calgary. She finished second in Halifax in 2005 but failed to qualify for weekend play in 2006 and 2007.

Hull must be conjuring up some Golden Jet magic this week in Winnipeg, because she fired a 5-under-par 67 in the tough afternoon winds on Friday to vault into a tie for 10th after an opening-round 75.

“I’ve been playing well over the last couple months, so I knew if I went out there today and stayed patient that the putts would eventually drop, and fortunately they did,” Hull said.

She doesn’t know what it is about Canada that treats her so well, but she likes it.

“I love this tournament,” she said. “The fans are fantastic. Golf Canada has always done a really good job of picking golf courses and setting them up fairly yet challenging at the same time.

“The volunteers have always been good at this tournament, the food’s great, the people are just super friendly. I like the feel of it, I guess. Good vibes.”

Or maybe it’s karma.

Hull is involved with Golf Fore Africa, a nonprofit group started by former LPGA great Betsy King four years ago. They work primarily with the goal of helping African children who are orphaned by AIDS.

“We just built a medical clinic in Rwanda, and we’re raising money right now to build 45 homes in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity,” Hull said. “There’s going to be a few of us who go down and actually build some of the homes.”

Hull travelled to Rwanda in 2007 and couldn’t believe what she saw.

“Our idea of poverty compared to their idea of poverty is night and day,” she said. “There’s people in Rwanda whose average income is $220 a year. They’re lucky to eat five meals a week. I eat five meals a day.”

Hull and the rest of her travelling group gave soccer balls to the kids, who were using banana leaves and twine before that.

“They thought it was Christmas times a hundred,” Hull said. “It was just fantastic to see them that happy, but they were happy to begin with.

“That was a heartbreaking but inspiring trip at the same time.”

Hull’s Canadian Open victory is her only LPGA title, but she’s in the right country to double that total. She trails leader Michelle Wie by eight strokes, but it’s a deficit that is not impossible to overcome.

“She’s going to be hard to catch from my standpoint, but it’s possible,” Hull said. “When I won in ’08 I was six behind going into the last round, so if I’m eight now I’ll have to put a good number on the board (Saturday) and get a lot closer.”

Considering she’s north of the 49th, the chances of that happening are better than normal.


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