The LPGA Tour’s ‘It-girl’ Natalie Gulbis made her first visit to the Ladies European Tour in Australia and admitted her training for a life on the pay-for-play ranks of professional golf came from a top flight career in gymnastics.

The svelte 19-year-old sensation from Sacramento in California, who was runner up in last years LPGA ‘rookie of the year’ race, was one level below elite, or Olympic standard on the high beam and was forced to quit her passion when she was 13, just as she growing taller.

“Gymnastics was great training for golf,” said Gulbis. “You really have to concentrate hard, it perfect for golf.

“When I was younger, I used to play golf early in the morning, go to school during the day, do gymnastics from 6pm to 10pm, do my homework and then eat dinner real late. I played golf seven days a week too – I was a pretty hyper kid.

“But I can tell you, making a three foot putt is a damn sight easier than landing a back flip on a four-inch beam!”