November 7, 2008 (UPDATED Nov. 12, 2008) —Natalie Gulbis has made her home at Lake Las Vegas Resort–home of three Las Vegas golf courses–for several years, and it was an easy commute when the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge was played at Jack Nicklaus' Las Vegas golf course Reflection Bay Golf Club that is located at Lake Las Vegas Resort. Because of that, when the LPGA Tour team won the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge in 2007, they allowed Gulbis to keep the trophy at her home–where it stayed. On Tuesday, Nov. 11, the LPGA Tour tried to defend its title just up the road from Gulbis at Las Vegas' Rio Secco Golf Club. Photo: JRickMartin.
"I have been away from the tour for a little while and (I am) excited to return to represent the LPGA Tour in the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge!" Gulbis wrote in her online journal. "The team is Helen Alfredssen, Christie Kerr and myself! We are all jazzed! The LPGA is defending and I want to keep the gorgeous trophy with me. Last year the girls let me keep the trophy at my home course Reflection Bay in lake las vegas. The event has moved for this year to Rio Secco not far from the Las Vegas Strip. Butch Harmon has his golf academy at Rio Secco. So its like playing at my second back yard!." Update: Unfortunately, Gulbis and her mates came up short as the Champions Tour won the event. Click now for a recap of the event.
Gulbis works with Harmon, who is recognized as the World's Number One Golf Instructor, and spends a lot of time at the Butch Harmon School of Golf and Rio Secco Golf Club, a course owned and operated by Harrah's Golf that was designed by legendary golf course architect Rees Jones. The Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge is being played at this Las Vegas golf course for the first time. Other Las Vegas golf courses operated by Harrah's include Cascata, another Rees Jones design, and Las Vegas National Golf Club, one of the most historic Las Vegas golf courses. All three of these Las Vegas golf courses are open for public play. Click now to book your Las Vegas golf tee times online or you can call 866-941-7703 where you can find good deals on Las Vegas tee times and Las Vegas golf packages at many Las Vegas golf courses.
Last year, Christie Kerr drained a five-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to win the title for the ladies and defeat Fred Funk and the Champions Tour team. Morgan Pressel was the other LPGA Tour player along with Gulbis in 2007. Kerr was excited to have a chance to make up for a previous mistake. "I wanted another chance because my last shot was from the same spot and I pulled it," Kerr said following the round. "I was just trying to breathe, slow down and get a sense for the situation (on the playoff hole). I knew when it left my club, it was close."
The Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge pits three-player teams from the LPGA Tour, PGA Tour and the Champions Tour against each other in a very unique format. The live event takes place Tuesday, November 11, and is recorded for television and will air in December on ABC. The PGA Tour team is made up of Ryder Cup players Stewart Cink and Kenny Perry in addition to 2008 U.S. Open runner-up Rocco Mediate. The Champions Tour team is Nick Price, Fred Funk and Jay Haas. The event is open to the public and free tickets are available at the front gate of Rio Secco Golf Club or by going to the official website of the event.
The event has been played at a Las Vegas golf course since 1996, but was played for the first time in 1992 in New Albany, New York. The PGA Tour team leads the series with eight wins, while the Champions Tour has won five times, and the LPGA Tour has won three times. The Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge benefits the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and has a $1 million professional purse. The event will be nationally televised on ABC on December 13-14. Check your local listings.