Natalie Blog No Mil but What a Season

By Natalie GulbisNovember 19, 2007, 5:00 pm
Natalie Gulbis -- Sunday, Nov. 18 -- West Palm Beach, Fla.
 
What a day! I had one of the most exciting rounds of golf today. There were 8 players left in the final round at the ADT Championship. The player who shot the lowest round of the day was crowned the champion and got a $1 million paycheck.
 
I was paired in the final group with world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa. My plan for the day was to play agressive and I thought 68 would win it. After checking the weather, conditions and pin placements I felt 68 would do it. After a slow start I found myself at even par and playing with the leader, Lorena, who was 5 under par after 9 holes. I needed to get going because she had such a fast start since I was in second place all the way back at even par. At (No.) 14 I made birdie and still was 4 shots back. I saw my first opportunity to make a move on (No.) 15 when Lorena went right off the tee and I was on the green and putting for eagle. I felt this was my golden opportunity. But quickly I three-putted for par from 30 feet and Lorena made par as well.
 
I glanced at the leaderboard. Paula Creamer and I were tied at 1 under and four shots back with three holes to play. On (No.) 16 I drove it into the fairway and Lorena hit her shot into the fairway bunker. The 16th hole is the hardest hole on the golf course and had a very tight pin on the left side of the green near the water. I wanted to put pressure on Lorena and aimed at the pin leaving my ball 10 feet from the hole. Lorena responded with a absolutely amazing fairway bunker shot to 9 feet! Wow!
 
We both ended up missing our putts on 16 and headed on to 17. This is another very hard hole. It is an island green with a pin that was tucked in the front right corner. I was first to hit and hit a great iron to 15 feet above the hole. Lorena pulled her shot to the back of the green. I made birdie and Lorena double bogeyed. This is when it really got exciting. One hole to play and I was only one shot back from Lorena!
 
On 18, I hit a good drive in the center of the fairway and Lorena hit a monster drive 30 yards past me, but in the right rough. I hit a great shot 15 feet short of the pin from 190 yards. I was excited to have a shot at birdie to possibly force a playoff with Lorena. She responded with an unbelievable shot from the rough that settled just a few feet from the hole. Game over. What a way to win a tournament! I really enjoyed playing with Lorena and to be involved in a finish like that is why I play the game of golf!
 
The $1 million went to Lorena to cap a quite remarkable season for her. She had already set a new LPGA record earning over $3 million in a single season earlier this year and now to go over $4 million in a single season on the LPGA Tour is such an accomplishment. What a spectacular year she has had. Congratulations to Lorena on her win today at the ADT Championship and for all of her success during the 2007 season.
 
For me I was excited to join my friends and parents who were screaming for me every hole this week. They all dressed in black today. I love to wear black on Sunday and they were with me every step of the way. Thank you mom, dad, Mitch, Lara, John, Dawn, Maggie and Gunars for a fun week. Your support and love made the week and event so much more enjoyable for me!
 
Thanks to the fans and the sponsor, ADT, for a great week. Thank you to Donald Trump for his hospitality this week. His course was in perfect condition and he was so kind to let the players stay at his estate. An incredible week and event. This has been a great year on the LPGA Tour and I can't wait to get back for the 2008 season. Thank you to all of the fans who support the LPGA Tour!
 
More Natalie Blogs from the ADT Championship:
  • Saturday
  • Friday
  • Thursday
     
    Related Links:
  • Everything Natalie
  • Natalie Photo Gallery
  • Natalie's Solheim Cup Blog
  • Full Coverage - ADT Championship
     
    Natalie Gulbis -- Saturday, Nov. 17 -- West Palm Beach, Fla.
     
    Another exciting day at the ADT Championship. I shot 70 and get a shot at the final 8 for a $1 million first-place check. This has been an exciting format. There were so many great TV moments and shots today. Players were making birdies and players were making mistakes.
     
    The final holes at Trump International were designed for this format. This has been so fun and exciting for players. For me I was at (No.) 14 at +1 and needed to make some birdies. I played the last 5 holes at 3-under par. Yesssss! I'm very excited to finish strong and make it to the elite 8.
     
    I am in the final pairing with Lorena Ochoa at 10 a.m. We got to pick our pairing for the first time ever. I definitely wanted to play in the last group and I'm excited that that spot was still open. I've always enjoyed playing with Lorena, and being that she's the No. 1 player in the world, I want to be paired with the person that is the No. 1 player in the world. It's going to be exciting! Everyone tune in to watch! Eight players competing for a one million dollar first-place prize. It's going to be great!
     
    More Natalie Blogs from the ADT Championship:
  • Friday
  • Thursday
     
    Related Links:
  • Everything Natalie
  • Natalie Photo Gallery
  • Natalie's Solheim Cup Blog
  • Full Coverage - ADT Championship
     
    What would you do with $1 million? Find out how the ADT field answered on LPGA.com
     
    Natalie Gulbis -- Friday, Nov. 16 -- West Palm Beach, Fla.
     
    Today was a very exciting day at the ADT Championship. The second round started with 32 players and would be cut to 16 players. I started the day at even par and in ninth place. By the end of 36 holes, 3-over was the cutline. There were 17 players at the +3 score or better which meant one thing: The first playoff of the 2007 ADT Championship.
     
    With three holes to play, I was at even par and turned my 6-iron from the center of the fairway on 16 into the left water. I would drop back in the fairway and make double. On number 17, I hit a 6-iron to 40 feet to the safe side of a very tough pin and three-putted. Now I am at 3-over and tied on the cut line. What can you do? This is golf. Everything was going nice and smooth, and now I am faced with another very difficult finishing hole at Trump International Golf Club and I need to make birdie to avoid the playoff, a par to join, and a bogey would kick me out. The 18th hole is a very long and difficult dog-leg right. You have to cross the water twice and the pin was tucked on the back-right side. I hit a great drive and was 181 yards to the hole. After the yardage, I pulled the 4-rescue and was ready to strike. Greg, my caddy, pulled me off the shot and said the wind had changed and was now straight behind our back. He was right. I grabbed the 5-iron and stuck the iron to 10 feet. Thanks, Greg! If I would have hit the orginal club, I would have hit over the green for sure and had a nearly impossible chip back. Although I missed the 10-footer, I was in the playoff.
     
    Three people for two spots. And these were not just any two players: Ai Miyazato, the most recognizable female player in Japan; and the best to ever play women's golf, Annika Sorenstam.
     
    This is a perfect example of how exciting the new playoff format is. After 36 holes, there is a playoff and the field is cut in half.
     
    We set off to the 17th hole and each hit average shots. We all had more than 30 feet to the hole to the difficult back-left pin. All three players two-putted and we headed to 18. With good drives by all the players, I was first to hit. I hit my approach to 20 feet ... Phew! Ai hit hers to about 35 feet on the fringe and Annika left herself in the short left bunker with a very difficult shot. Annika hit her bunker shot to 25 feet to the back fringe. Both Ai and I lagged our putts and two-putted. Annika missed her par putt and the playoff is over. I am excited to advance to Saturday.
     
    Tomorrow, eight players will advance to Sunday and eight will go home. Very exciting! Tune in to watch!
     
    More Natalie Blogs from the ADT Championship:
  • Thursday
     
    Related Links:
  • Everything Natalie
  • Natalie Photo Gallery
  • Natalie's Solheim Cup Blog
  • Full Coverage - ADT Championship
     
    What would you do with $1 million? Find out how the ADT field answered on LPGA.com
     
    Natalie Gulbis -- Thursday, Nov. 15 -- West Palm Beach, Fla.
     
    The ADT Championship. The event is held at Trump International, a Donald Trump course in West Palm Beach, Florida. This is a spectacular golf course. It's (in) pristine shape. The course gets better every year. This is a fun week for players. All the players stay at Donald Trump's Estate and enjoy his gracious hospitality.
     
    I just finished the first round and the pressure is building. The first two days are its own tournament. There are 32 players who are playing for 16 spots. Players have worked all season to qualify for this event so it's an honor to be here.
     
    After the first round the cut line is +2. I shot even today and the leaders are at -5. Tomorrow is a big day. The players who struggled today will be playing very aggressive, all or nothing style golf. If you are not in the top 16 after 36 holes you go home. The event makes for great (TV) and extra excitement.
     
    Hope everyone checks it out on the GOLF CHANNEL. Tomorrow everyone will see some exciting golf!
     
    Related Links:
  • Everything Natalie
  • Natalie Photo Gallery
  • Natalie's Solheim Cup Blog
  • Full Coverage - ADT Championship
     
    What would you do with $1 million? Find out how the ADT field answered on LPGA.com
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

    Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

    He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

    Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



    The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

    ''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

    Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

    ''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

    Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.