Natalie Gulbis, 14, won’t be able to take her high school finals this week - she’s playing in an LPGA tournament.
LPGA deputy commissioner Jim Webb said Gulbis is the youngest player ever to qualify for a women’s pro golf event.
Gulbis, a freshman at Granite Bay High School in Citrus Heights, Calif., will be competing in the Longs Drugs Challenge. She shot a 6-over-par 78 to gain one of the two qualifying spots Monday.
“I thought I would have to shoot 74 or 75, so I’m surprised,” Gulbis said. “I’m just trying not to get too nervous.”
Gulbis, a former gymnast who began playing golf at age 4, is the No. 1 player on her high school boys team. Last summer, she shot her best round, a 3-under-par 67 on a course in West Sacramento.
“I played OK until the final few holes,” said Gulbis of her qualifying round. “But I had a couple of bogeys and a double bogey, and that wasn’t so good.”
Gulbis finished second in the 1996 California State Amateur tournament. She also advanced to the 1995 California State Amateur matchplay round but was disqualified when two of her playing partners from a previous round said she signed an incorrect scorecard.
Gulbis, 5-foot-6, has a particularly good short game and is a skilled driver.
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