ON SUNDAYafternoon Natalie Gulbis sank a one-footer for birdie to defeat Jeong Jang onthe first playoff hole of the Evian Masters in Evian-les-Bains, France, for herfirst LPGA victory. It was, to borrow a phrase, one short putt for Gulbis, onegiant step for her career and women's golf. "What does it mean? How long doyou have?" a jubilant Gulbis, 24, said afterward. "This is my sixthyear on tour, and obviously in the U.S. there has been quite a bit of hypeabout if I would ever win a tournament." The hype relates mainly to herbeing tagged as the Anna Kournikova of golf: an athlete known more for her goodlooks and swimsuit calendars than her play--especially because both women werewithout a victory. The longer Gulbis went winless, the more credence thecomparison gained, and the more Gulbis's status as a star eroded thecredibility of women's golf. Breaking through at one of the LPGA's richest anddeepest events gets the monkey off Gulbis's back and strikes a blow againstthose who contend that the women's game is more about sex appeal than qualitycompetition. Of course, the win won't hurt calendar sales, either.
BACK ON July 15Daniel Summerhays (right), 23, a senior at BYU, won the Nationwide's Children'sHospital Invitational as an amateur playing on a sponsor's exemption. Thus hehad to pass up the $126,000 first prize, but he did gain exempt status on thetour through 2008, so he decided to skip his final year of college and turnpro. In doing so, Summerhays joined his brother Boyd, 28, who has bouncedbetween the PGA and Nationwide tours over the last six years. In their firstpro showdown, at last week's Cox Classic in Omaha, big brother got off to afast start, opening with a 68 to Daniel's 71. But on Friday, Boyd shot a 73 tomiss the cut while Daniel put up a 64, getting him to the weekend, when he wenton to finish 37th, and earn his first check. The $3,120 payout put him withinstriking distance of Boyd, who has made only $11,301 in nine starts, butthey're both way back in the race for top-earning Summerhays. Out on theChampions tour Uncle Bruce has pocketed $210,253.
AFTERDOUBLE-HITTING a few putts on the par-5 17th hole during the second round ofthe Deutsche Bank Players' Championship, Henrik Stenson lost count of how manystrokes he had taken. He was credited with a 12 but later refused to sign hisscorecard because he couldn't be sure that was the correct number, leading tohis disqualification. . . . Andrés Romero and Jim Furyk played together in thefinal round of the British Open, and each came back to win last week (Romero atthe Deutsche Bank). . . . With two weeks left until the Presidents Cup teamsare finalized, Chris DiMarco, hero of the 2005 match, is 36th in the U.S.standings. ¬±
David Feherty'sFly on the Ball appears at GOLF.com.
August 5, 2007
Third-round leaders, including Jim Furyk, who've heldon to win, in 31 Tour events this year.
A short-season special in the great North
WHAT The Retreat
Where Floodwood, Minn.
Hook This par-36 nine-holer 25 miles west of Duluthruns through heavily wooded countryside and plays to 3,117 yards. The facilityincludes a 10-station range and a log-cabin-style clubhouse with a restaurant,bar and pro shop.
Fringe Benefit There are 40 undeveloped acres, so witha few shovels you could make Minnesota the Land of 10,001 Lakes.
"You might well be witness to his finalround."--MY SHOT, PAGE G20
Gulbis came from behind for her first win in 151 starts.