RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – If the Kraft Nabisco Championship truly is the LPGA equivalent of the Masters – it’s the first major of the season, and played on a recurring venue at the beginning of April – then it could use an early-week tradition comparable to the par-3 contest that takes place at Augusta National on the eve of the first round.
As Monday night’s pairings party got under way at Mission Hills, an emcee made a suggestion for one, though it had a decidedly different feel than Masters Wednesday. It’s called the EA Sports LPGA Shootout, and featured five two-person teams consisting of a celebrity and an LPGA player, all playing EA Sports’ Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2014 video game. Each team was a two-person best ball, and the LPGA lineup included Natalie Gulbis, Jessica Korda, World No. 1 Stacy Lewis, Suzann Pettersen, Annika Sorenstam, Lexi Thompson, Beatriz Recari and Michelle Wie.
During the event, which backed up to the party, music blared and a crowd formed around three flat-screen TVs to the side of the room. Gulbis and celebrity partner Anthony Anderson made it to the finals and played against Michelle Wie and Bruce Jenner. They played the watery 18th hole of this week’s venue, Mission Hills’ Dinah Shore Tournament Course, and Gulbis and Anderson won the contest.
It lacks a bit of the traditional feel of the Masters par-3 contest, but it certainly produced some noise to kick off Kraft week.
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