Gulbis ready for first-ever title defense


2006 Evian MastersEVIAN-LES-BAINS, France -- It took nearly six years on the LPGA before Natalie Gulbis tasted victory.
But when she did at the 2007 Evian Masters, how sweet it was.
Overcoming a back injury that had hampered her season, Gulbis defeated two-time winner Jeong Jang in a one-hole, sudden-death playoff for the victory and the $450,000 prize.
This week's winner will have to defeat a field of 90 players who represent 21 countries. Among LPGA members, 46 have combined for more than 300 victories on Tour, including 46 major championships.
The Evian Masters celebrates its 15th anniversary this year and ninth on the LPGA schedule. Since 2000, seven players have captured the trophy, including Annika Sorenstam, who is the only player to win the event multiple times.
The list of contenders includes the four multiple winners this year: Lorena Ochoa (three), Sorenstam (three), 2005 champion Paula Creamer (three) and Seon Hwa Lee (two).
The Evian Masters has developed into one of the Tour's premier stops and kicks off back-to-back events in Europe. It is the first of three consecutive Winner Events in the second half of the 2008 LPGA Playoffs and just last week announced its purse has increased to $3.25 million. The purse matches the U.S. Women's Open as the highest purse on the 2008 schedule.
GOLF CHANNEL has tape-delayed coverage of all four rounds this week.
Next week, the tour heads to England for the Women's British Open, where Lorena Ochoa will defend her title at Sunningdale Golf Club.
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