December 1, 2008–The long run for Annika Sorenstam, by all accounts, is over, but who knows when she will decide to come back and play again. Lake Las Vegas Resort resident Natalie Gulbis hopes she plays more, but if not, Gulbis helped Sorenstam go out of top as part of the International Team at the Lexus Cup. Gulbis, who has called Sorenstam a "best friend", won her singles match on the final day and the international team defeated Team Asia 12.5-11.5. Click now to find out how YOU can meet and play against Natalie Gulbis on December 13 at Las Vegas golf course Aliante. Photo: JRickMartin.
Gulbis lives on Las Vegas golf course Reflection Bay at Lake Las Vegas Resort. "Annika is my closest friend on tour, so I'm obviously very excited and sad for her decision," Gulbis said in May following Annika's retirement announcement. "Sad because she's arguably the best player to play our sport, so even the thought of her not being out here is tough." Gulbis beat Mayumi Shimomura 2 and 1 on the final day while Sorenstam beat the tough Se Ri Pak 3 up. Former Las Vegas resident Inbee Park lost to Helen Alfredsson 3 and 2. Alfredsson was recently in Las Vegas teaming with Gulbis at Las Vegas golf course Rio Secco Golf Club for the made-for-tv Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge.
"What I will miss the most is what she brings to tournaments," Gulbis told the Associated Press about Sorenstam following the Lexus Cup. "Not only is she one of the best players, but (she has a) class and confidence and she treats the fans (very well), sponsors and fellow competitors." Sorenstam was the captain of the International Team for the tournament that was played at the Singapore Island Country Club Bukit Course in Singapore. Pak was the captain for Team Asia. The Lexus Cup is a competition that pits 12 international players against 12 players from Asia. Sorenstam has been quoted as saying that the Lexus Cup was her "final LPGA event."
Gulbis is fully recovered from nagging back injuries that plagued some of her 2008 season, and has played solid golf thus far in the 'off season'. She fired a 5-under par 67 during the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge and played solidly during the Lexus Cup. Gulbis will be spending the next few months working with Butch Harmon at the Butch Harmon School of Golf located at Rio Secco Golf Club. She is working to get back a consistent swing in addition to fine-tuning some other areas of her game. Gulbis has also finished filming the hit NBC Series Apprentice which will air in February 2009. She is sworn to secrecy about the results of the competition, but she enjoyed her time on the show. She became friends with Ivanka Trump and the two plan to play golf together when the time allows.
Lake Las Vegas Resort is home to three Las Vegas golf courses, and Gulbis has lived on the fairways at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Reflection Bay Golf Club for several years. Gulbis loves Las Vegas, and tries to enjoy the community when she isn't traveling. During the Wendy's, she spent several nights at Caesars Palace and played the role of tourist, dining at the Palm Steakhouse and taking in the other events that surround the event. The Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge raises funds and awareness for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. The other two Las Vegas golf courses are The Falls, a resort course designed by Tom Weiskopf, and SouthShore, a private Nicklaus course. The Falls and Reflection Bay Golf Club are public, resort Las Vegas golf courses and you can easily reserve your Las Vegas golf tee times by clicking to GolfLLV.com … now.