Stanford's situation nothing new


POSTED: Saturday, February 14, 2009

Angela Stanford won't have many friends on the course in today's final round of the SBS Open at Turtle Bay and she wouldn't have it any other way.

The Texas Christian University graduate isn't worried about overzealous fans pulling for local favorite Michelle Wie or someone yelling out in the middle of her putting stroke, “;Miss it!”; Instead, she knows they'll be pulling for the hometown girl, but not against her.

“;They're going to be great fans and it's fun for them,”; said Stanford, who drew even with Wie at 8-under 136 with a 71. Wie countered with a 70. Both are one shot clear of Angela Park, who carded the best second round at 4-under 68.

“;It's going to be fun for them if she wins,”; Stanford said. “;It's going to be fun if I win. So I expect the fans will be out (today) and they'll have a lot of fun.”;

Stanford has been having a lot of fun of late, moving to No. 8 in the world on the strength of two wins last year and 10 top 10s. In her final six events of 2008, she finished no worse than a tie for sixth, including a tie for fourth at the Kapalua Classic.

Unlike Wie, Stanford has won three times at this level and is poised to be one of the top American players on the LPGA Tour. She is ranked third in America behind Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr. In her win last year in Mexico, she had an entire country pulling against her and for world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa.

She might need to draw upon that experience if she is to survive not only the predicted high winds, but the Wie crowd that's sure to pack every fairway and green. But what Stanford has on Wie is she has won out here and Wie has not.

“;I'm a big believer in you learn how to win,”; Stanford said. “;But she's a little different in that she's such a great talent. So the curve for her gets smaller because she's so talented. I think there are ways to win a golf tournament and there are certain things you have to do to win.

“;She makes up for what she doesn't know with her talent. I was a late bloomer. I needed every time, the good and the bad, to learn how to win and I'm still learning.”;

One thing Stanford has working for her is the ability to play in the wind. Growing up in Texas, you have to learn how to deal with it and she's hopeful that if the conditions are the same as they were yesterday, it will work in her favor.

“;It's funny, my dad was on the phone, I was talking to him last night and he goes, 'You know, people always say you're from Texas and you should enjoy playing in the wind.' He goes, 'I think that's a bunch of crap. I don't know anybody who likes the wind.' I said, 'Yeah, that's true, Dad,'”; Stanford said.

“;I don't want it to blow harder. But that's what I said walking up (to the media center), it blows this hard at home, I go in. And the only reason I didn't go in a few days before I left (Texas) is because I was trying to get ready for here.”;


Park poised for first win

Angela Park was rookie of the year in 2007 and has been close several times to winning before, but has yet to get that first victory on tour. Born in Brazil and raised in California, Park had a good tournament going at last year's Fields Open at Ko Olina, only to be penalized for slow play as she disappeared from view.

Yesterday, she stayed front and center after shooting a 4-under 68 to move her to 7 under for the tournament and just one shot off the lead. She will be in the final pairing with Stanford and Wie, and is looking forward to the large crowds.

“;I've played with Michelle before a couple of times,”; Park said. “;I have experience and I think playing with her will be a lot of fun for both of us.”;

For Park, it's more about getting that first victory entering her third year on tour.

“;My thought process is exactly the same as it was the first two days,”; Park said. “;Win, second or third doesn't matter as long as I go out and put by best foot forward. This is my third year on tour and I've gained a lot of experience and hopefully that experience will pay off.”;


Inside the numbers

The scoring average jumped from 73.671 the first day to 76.039 yesterday as the cutline fell at plus 6. There were only 13 rounds in the red, including just one in the 60s by Park. The hardest hole on the course was the par-4 second with a scoring average of 4.574. There were only five birdies, 61 pars, 59 bogeys, 10 doubles and one triple by Ha Neul Kim.

The easiest hole was the par-5 18th with a scoring average of 4.846. There were 34 birdies, 90 pars, eight bogeys, three doubles and one triple by Sung Ah Kim. There were five eagles yesterday, all on the front side, including one at the par-4 first by Ai Miyazato.