Work ethic gives Gulbis winning edge

JOHN HERBERT -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

Golf reporter John Herbert has attended several LPGA and PGA tournaments over the years. After interviewing players, LPGA officials and RCGA officials at London Hunt and Country Club, here's who he thinks will challenge for the title at the Canadian Women's Open:

Natalie Gulbis

- What you need to know about her: Forget that she's 0-for-128 in her career on the LPGA Tour. She is the tour's hardest worker on the course, on the range and in the gym. There is much more to Gulbis than bikini-clad calendars, swimsuit deals and other endorsements and she will soon prove it. That elusive first victory almost came three weeks ago in Toledo, Ohio, at the Jamie Farr Corning Classic. Gulbis shot a final-round 65 but lost to Mi Hyun Kim in a playoff.

- Is it time? It could very well begin this week. Averaging 250 yards with her driver, she has enough length for the Hunt course.

- Weakness: Just has to prove she can win.

- Odds: Even money

Brittany Lincicome

- What you need to know about her: The 20-year-old Floridian would like to have enough money to retire at 35 and play Texas Hold 'Em poker. She already has a victory this year, winning the World Match Play Championship, and has banked $776,000. The longest hitter on the LPGA Tour entered this week, the Hunt course sets up perfectly. It is the fourth-longest course on the LPGA Tour this season.

- Is it time? She's already had four top-10s. Make that five this week.

- Weakness: Jet lag? How will the time change affect her game and her mental toughness after making the long journey over the Atlantic Ocean to London?

- Odds: 3-1

Cristie Kerr

- What you need to know about her: She has momentum after almost winning the British Open last weekend, losing by a shot. She has had 10 top-10 finishes in 17 starts, winning $881,000. There's no player on the LPGA Tour more focused. One source said "When Kerr gets her game head on, she doesn't see anything else." - Is it time? At the age of 29, she has eight wins and $5 million in winnings. She is definitely a major threat.

- Weakness: None

- Odds: 4-1

Julieta Granada

- What you need to know about her: The rookie from Paraguay comes to London Hunt under the radar but this could well be her breakthrough tournament. An all-round solid player, she has won $447,773 in 19 tournaments and is in the running for LPGA rookie.

- Is it time? Definitely worth a close look this week. Coming off an eighth-place finish at the British Open, insiders like her chances.

- Weakness: Not a long hitter (241.5 average) playing a long golf course, she must have a strong iron game and judge her yardages well this week.

- Odds: 5-1

Mi Hyun Kim

- What you need to know about her: As the LPGA slogan says: This girl rocks. The South Korean star -- one of 21 playing this week -- has already won twice. After winning in Toledo, she finished fourth at the Evian Masters in France and missed the cut at the British Open. She has already racked up more than $5 million since joining the tour in 1998.

- Is it time? Don't rule out her bouncing back better than ever this week.

- Weakness: She is only five-foot-one and drives the ball, on average, just 241 yards.

- Odds: 8-1

Lorie Kane

- What you need to know about her: Nobody is more determined to win than the Canadian star, who has been playing well the past few weeks after a dismal start. She tied for sixth at the British Open and 24th in the U.S. Open, serving notice she's ready to be a contender. She has fought hard to save the Canadian Women's Open and encouraged many players to come to London. Nobody deserves to win more than Kane.

- Is it time? Not likely. It's been five years since Kane won.

- Weakness: Just hasn't had a confidence-boosting year.

- Odds: 10-1


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