Ending up T-4 at the Evian Masters on Sunday, Natalie Gulbis earned her best LPGA Tour finish in five years.
The last time Gulbis finished better in a tournament was at the 2007 ADT Championship, where she finished runner-up to Lorena Ochoa in the since-defunct event.
It was Gulbis’ final event of what was to be her breakout year, where she won the Evian Masters to collect her first – and since only – LPGA Tour win. After that Evian win, Gulbis closed out her season going T-4, T-3 and the runner-up at the ADT.
A single top-five finish does not make a season but it marks the third top-10 effort this year from the Vegas-based Gulbis. She was T-9 at the Mobile Bay Classic in April and T-8 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the season’s first major.
In the four years after her Evian win, Gulbis had logged three top 10s combined. She had none in the last two years, with her T-7 finish at Kingsmill in May 2009 being the last time she cracked the top 10.
Not until this season, however, has Gulbis been healthy enough to play at that level.
“I have been healthy which, knock on wood, has been great,” she said Sunday, referring to a chronic back injury which has plagued her.
Perhaps the most positive sign of things to come for Gulbis is she took the short view of her performance rather than basking in it as a personal victory.
” I had missed three of my last four cuts, and two of those four were in big events,” she said. “I had a rough kind of couple weeks off to work on my golf game, so it’s nice to see positive things.”