RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Natalie Gulbis will return to play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship after recovering from malaria.
Infected by a mosquito during the Honda LPGA Thailand event, Gulbis withdrew after the first round the following week at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore. She hoped to return two weeks ago in Carlsbad at the Kia Classic, but was back in the doctor's office after a practice round.
''It's been a pretty rough month,'' Gulbis said Wednesday, a day before the start of play in the first major championship of the year. ''I've been trying to play, and then I'll fall back and rest for a couple of days, and then I try to play again, and I'm back to square one. Hopefully, I'm past that part and I'm doing better every day.
''I'm just so excited to be back. Not only to be back here in this event, but back playing golf,'' she added. ''I mean, yesterday was the first time I've played 18 holes since Singapore, and I really missed being on the golf course.''
She was looking forward to playing in 90-degree heat at Mission Hills.
''I love the heat,'' Gulbis said. ''I'm a California girl who went to school in Arizona and lives in Las Vegas. So the heat feels great and I love being out in the heat. This is a good test for everybody out here this week. It's going to be hot. It's a major championship. It's a tough golf course, and we have to be well prepared.''
The 30-year-old Gulbis won the 2007 Evian Masters for her lone LPGA Tour title.