News & ToursAugust 1, 2008

Women's British: Gulbis Contending After 69-68

SUNNINGDALE, England -- With a suddenness made more shocking by the abundance of blue sky, the heavens opened and rain poured down on Sunningdale Golf Club shortly before noon Friday during the second round of the Ricoh Women's British Open. "Just a 10-minute cloud burst," said a decidedly English-accented voice. He was wrong. It was eight minutes and 45 seconds. These Brits know their rain.

The Sunningdale course the players attacked Friday was very different than the venue laid to waste with 65 subpar rounds on Thursday. The wind out of the northwest was steady and strong, and showers made several unannounced visits.

"Yesterday the golf course played about as easy as it could play," Natalie Gulbis said after a second-round 68 left her at seven-under-par 137. The impressive effort by Gulbis came despite three-putt bogeys on Nos. 15 and 17, her only hiccups of the day. "Today, we had a little wind, passing showers. This was the British Open."

Gulbis, whose game has been rounding into shape the last couple of weeks after a fairly dismal start to the season, (T-17 last week at the Evian Masters after missing the cut in three of her five previous events) has struggled with her driver this year, especially after the one she had been using was broken on a flight after the McDonald's LPGA Championship.

"I've gone through four since then," said Gulbis, who has also been working with her swing coach Butch Harmon on hitting more fairways.

Want a glimpse into the glamorous life of a professional golfer? Gulbis had a 7:14 a.m. tee time Friday. That meant getting up a 4 to stretch, shower, fix her hair and put on makeup. Her outfit was laid out the night before, which was when she also marked the golf balls she would use in the second round. She was out of the house at 5 a.m. and off to the course to meet caddie Greg Sheridan for breakfast and warm up. One good thing about her seven-under-par score: She'll have a late tee time on Saturday and get to sleep longer.

--Ron Sirak

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