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Natalie Gulbis Biography

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Natalie Gulbis

Natalie Gulbis celebrates winning her first (and so far only) LPGA tournament, the 2007 Evian.

Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Natalie Gulbis calendar

Early in her career, Natalie Gulbis was best-known for her 'glamour girl' photo shoots, which included a swimsuit calendar.

Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Natalie Gulbis is one of the most popular players in women's golf, even though (or perhaps because) she was better known as a sex symbol in the early part of her career.

Date of birth: January 7, 1983
Place of birth: Sacramento, California
Nickname: Natalie Gulbis really doesn't have an established nickname, except that her fellow LPGA golfers often call her "Nat" as a shorthand for "Natalie."
Natalie Gulbis pictures

LPGA Tour Victories:

1

Major Championships:

0

Awards and Honors:

  • Member, U.S. Solheim Cup team, 2005, 2007, 2009
  • NCAA All-America selection, 2001

Trivia:

  • Natalie Gulbis was a contestant on one season of the Donald Trump-hosted reality TV series Celebrity Apprentice.
  • In 2005, Gulbis became the first golfer to earn more than $1 million in a single season on the LPGA Tour without winning during that season.
Try the Natalie Gulbis quiz for more trivia.

Natalie Gulbis Biography:

While she hasn't had the level of success that many predicted for her, Natalie Gulbis has been a solid performer over her LPGA career, and one of the tour's most popular players (among both fans and her fellow competitors). Not to mention, one of the LPGA's sex symbols. There was a time when Gulbis' swimsuit calendars completely overshadowed her golf.

Gulbis was born in Sacramento, California, and took up golf at the age of 4. She won early and often in junior golf, and at age 14 claimed the California Women's Amateur Championship. That same year, 1997, Gulbis played in her first LPGA tournament. She Monday qualified for the Longs Drugs Challenge, setting a record (since broken) as youngest LPGA qualifier.

Gulbis played collegiately at the University of Arizona in 2000 and 2001 (when one of her teammates was Lorena Ochoa), won the 2001 NCAA West Regional and was named an All-American in 2001. After her sophomore season, she turned pro.

She earned her LPGA Tour card by finishing third in Q-School and 2002 was her rookie year on the LPGA. It was a solid season, too, with four Top 10s; Gulbis finished 39th on the money list and was runner-up for Rookie of the Year.

Gulbis' fame exploded in 2004, and not for her golf talents, but for her looks. She released a wall calendar in 2004 (for the calendar year 2005) that included multiple poses in swimsuits and bikinis. (She also posed in bikinis for "laddie" magazine FHM.) The USGA even banned the Gulbis calendar from merchandise tents at the 2004 U.S. Women's Open - which greatly increased the profile of both Gulbis and her calendar.

Gulbis produced a few more swimsuit calendars (see photos) in the ensuing years, and her sexy public persona continued to overshadow her golf - despite some good play. She was even followed by Golf Channel cameras for a 2-season run of The Natalie Gulbis Show.

Gulbis' most consistent season on the course was 2005, when she made 26 of 28 LPGA cuts, had 12 Top 10 finishes (a career high) and finished sixth on the money list (another career high), albeit without winning. Gulbis set a tour record (since broken) for most money earned without a victory, and she finished in the Top 8 in three of the four majors.

She came close to her first victory at the 2006 Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic, but lost to Mi Hyun Kim in a playoff. The next time Gulbis got into a playoff, however, she got the job done, earning her first LPGA win at the 2007 Evian Masters by beating Jeong Jang in a playoff.

She also played her way onto three American Solheim Cup teams.

Gulbis appeared to have strong momentum in her career after winning the Evian, but back problems derailed her. From 2008 through 2010, fighting back pain, Gulbis had only a handful of Top 10 finishes, and so far hasn't regained the form she was in from 2006-07.

She remains one of the most popular players on the LPGA Tour.

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