Natalie Gulbis Natalie Gulbis earns first LPGA Tour win at Evian Masters

Natalie Gulbis beat South Korean Jeong Jang in a sudden-death playoff Sunday to win the Evian Masters and claim her first LPGA Tour title.

"This is my sixth year on tour, and obviously in the U.S. there has been quite a bit of hype on if I would ever win a tournament," Gulbis noted afterward.

The $450,000 winner's check puts Gulbis at more than $3 million in career earnings. She also moved up from 45th on the LPGA Official Money List to 15th.

The win improves Gulbis' playoff record to 1-1. At last year's Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic she lost a sudden-death playoff to Mi Hyun Kim on the third hole.

Gulbis said the Evian Masters win is all the sweeter because she's had to overcome a nagging back injury that kept her off the tour for a month earlier this summer.

"I had been injured for a lot of the season and was way back on the money list, and it was probably the lowest I'd ever gotten to," Gulbis told reporters. "I just tried to stay positive, so that means a lot, that the hard work has paid off. It's great."

Gulbis and Jang hit their drives nearly side-by-side to start the playoff on the 18th hole. Both players knew they would have to go for the green on their second shot to have a chance to win on the par 5.

Jang hit her 5-wood over the green and into the rough, then her chip shot rolled 15 feet past the hole. Meanwhile, Gulbis landed her second shot on the green, 25 feet from the cup. Her eagle putt rolled about a foot past the hole, but after Jang missed her 15-footer for birdie, Gulbis easily putted out to seal the victory.

World No. 1 women's golfer Lorena Ochoa finished tied for third with Juli Inkster. Annika Sorenstam tied for sixth, and Michelle Wie finished tied for 69th.

July 30, 2007

Comments Leave a comment