By Ward Clayton
Natalie Gulbis has been quietly having a very consistent season on the LPGA.
In her 11th year on the LPGA and nearing her 30th birthday (in January 2013), Gulbis has recorded three top-10 finishes this season - a T4 at the Evian Masters with four rounds in the 60s, a T8 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship that included a season-low and career majors low 65 in the final round and a T9 at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic. The amount of top-10 finishes and earnings ($286,591) this season are her best since 2007 when she had a T4-T3-2 stretch to end the season and also won her only LPGA title at the Evian Masters.
"I have been healthy, which knock on wood, has been great," Gulbis said at the Evian Masters in late July. "I've made a couple caddie changes. I will be looking forward to this next year."
Gulbis has been hampered by back problems for much of her career, including undergoing surgery in early 2010. But with the assistance of swing coach Butch Harmon, she has come on strong this season.
Last week at the Safeway Classic presented by Coca-Cola was also a special week for Gulbis. Despite finishing T66, the Sacramento, Calif., native and current Las Vegas resident enjoyed spending time with family and friends who came to the closest LPGA event to their homes.
Her career at the CN Canadian Women's Open, this week's event, also should give her confidence. Gulbis has made the cut in six of seven career starts at the tournament which changes sites annually. Last year at Hillsdale Golf and Country Club in Quebec, Gulbis started 71-70-68 to get into the mix, but then shot a final-round 77 and fell to a T40 in windy conditions caused by Hurricane Irene as Brittany Lincicome won.
Who will win the inaugural event?
Will Jessica Korda defend her title?