August 22, 2009 (UPDATED Aug 23) –Las Vegas golfer Natalie Gulbis, a resident of Lake Las Vegas Resort, was teamed with longtime friend Christina Kim in the Friday afternoon foursomes of the Solheim Cup being played at Rich Harvest Farms in Illinois. Gulbis, who practices at the Butch Harmon School of Golf located at Las Vegas golf course Rio Secco Golf Club, played junior golf with Kim and the two were thrilled to represent their country together. And the duo defeated a couple of Europe's big guns, Sophie Gustafson and Suzann Petterson. Update: The U.S. has won the Solheim Cup and Gulbis halved her singles match. Click for complete report. LIVE SOLHEIM RESULTS.
"We were really looking forward to playing together," Gulbis told the media following the round. "We had talked about it on the first tee, it's been four years since we first played together, and we had such a great time the last time we played together in the States. We were looking forward to the match and we had a great time out there and got off to a really good start and just kept going."
Gulbis has lived in the Las Vegas area for several years, and loves the Lake Las Vegas community and Las Vegas as a whole. This is her third Solheim Cup appearance and she relishes playing in the event and representing her country. In an email before the event she told Golf Las Vegas Now that she spent a couple weeks practicing in Las Vegas in preparation for the event. Gulbis and Kim are a great pairing because both are outgoing and not afraid to show emotion and have fun while playing.
"Well, you know, this match and this point has been four years in the making for me, so it was pretty darn special out there," said Kim. "I had a wonderful time, and I had some great memories, having played with Natalie, both of us in our first Solheim together (four years ago), and I couldn't have asked for a better partner. The energy out there was palpable. It was truly incredible."
The suburban Chicago newspaper Daily Herald described the moment when Kim and Gulbis hit the course in preparation for the match, showing the excitement that the two bring to the event and the U.S. team. "After Junior Solheim Cup captain Nancy Lopez helped her American girls by leading chants of 'U-S-A,' Gulbis jogged onto the tee box and blew a kiss to the fans sitting in the elevated bleachers. Kim, wearing a backward beret and dark sunglasses, followed with raised arms and a backward strut."
The matches continue over the weekend. After the first day, the U.S. team was in the lead by a point, but with a long way to go. Gulbis, as she did during Friday's morning matches, was sitting out the morning action on Saturday. The Las Vegas Golf Region is home to more than 60 Las Vegas golf courses, including Bear's Best Las Vegas, 18 holes of Jack Nicklaus' favorite holes that he's designed around the world. Quotes from Kim and Gulbis via asapsports.com service. Gulbis photo J.Rick Martin.