Natalie Gulbis, LPGA’s top career earner without a win, missed her best chances to lift a trophy, when tied atop the leaderboard at 18-under-par, with Mi Hyun Kim in the final round. The Korean won the 2006 Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic in a three-hole sudden death playoff.
Natalie Gulbis’ words “I’m always smiling. But it’s very upsetting,” expresses her mood on Sunday at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio.
Natalie Gulbis and Kim entering the round as co-leaders, both shot six under for the regulation round and 18 under for the tournament.
But the Korean came back from two shots down with birdies on No. 16 and 17. Both golfers missed near chances in regulation and overtime.
Natalie Gulbis took the sole lead with a birdie at the fourth hole, the first of five straight birdies she nailed. Also Natalie Gulbis had a couple of three-stroke leads, but Kim stayed close with three straight birdies from No. 8-10.
In the 15th hole, Kim saved par with a long birdie where Natalie Gulbis missed a short birdie that could have sealed the win.
“It’s not like I finished last. I had a pretty good week. There’s definitely a lot of positive stuff from here. I’m going to go back home, work on my game,” Natalie Gulbis said.
Natalie Gulbis expressed her confidence, “This was a really big week for me, because I really wanted to qualify for the ADT (Championships on Nov. 16-19), and I’m on the bubble.”
Kim bagged US$180,000, said, “She had soooo many fans! I still cannot hear.”
“I understand that I’m Korean and that many Americans fans are rooting for Natalie Gulbis,” Kim said. “I was happy that a few people said my name or my nickname, or `Go Mi Hyun Kim.’”
Sunday, at Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic, end of Natalie Gulbis’ 126th start, was her best chance and sixth top – 10 finish this season.
Natalie Gulbis’ career-to-date earnings of more than $2.2 million is the most ever by a tour player without a victory.
– 18 Natalie Gulbis (US), Mi Hyun Kim (Kor) [Kim won play-off]
– 17 Paula Creamer (US)
– 16 S Pak (Kor)