- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 3, 2013

RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIF. (AP) - Natalie Gulbis is returning to play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship after recovering from malaria.

Infected by a mosquito during the LPGA Thailand event, Gulbis withdrew after the first round the following week 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. 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.


PUTTING PERSPECTIVE: I.K. Kim is back at Mission Hills, a year after missing a 1-foot putt on the final hole of regulation to blow a one-stroke lead.

“You got to just pick yourself up and be tough and just move on,” Kim said. “Don’t really feel sorry for yourself, because it’s life. You have to be happy and enjoy what you have.”

She ended up losing when fellow South Korean player Sun Young Yoo made an 18-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff.

“I learned a lot,” Kim said. “I think last year was big turning point of my life of learning and what’s really important. It just gave me different view of it.

“It was tough to handle at first, but I think it’s important not only to the viewers and the people, but to let other people, younger generation, to know that it’s not always going to be glorious and like victory. Life is not about winning or losing. When you’re 80 and look back, you’re not going to remember, `Oh, I should have made that putt.’”

Kim is coming off a playoff loss to Beatriz Recari in the Kia Classic.

“Even Stephen Hawking said in the time travel you cannot go back and do things backwards again, so you just got to live today,” Kim said. “We’re human. We remember things good or bad. You sometimes live in that memory, and I don’t want to be that person.”

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