Stanford leads Canadian Women Open

Angela Stanford's aggressive play helped her shoot a bogey-free 64 to tie a tournament record and lead the Canadian Women's Open after the first round

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:36 IST
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London:Angela Stanford's aggressive play helped her shoot a bogey-free 64 to tie a tournament record and lead the Canadian Women's Open after the first round Thursday. Stanford thought about playing a conservative shot from a tricky downhill lie in the 14th fairway. Instead, she talked herself into hitting the best shot of the best round of her life. She deftly faded a seven-iron around a large greenside tree to set up a tap-in birdie, her eighth of the day. Cristie Kerr, coming off a second-place tie Sunday in the Women's British Open, matched Vicki Goetze-Ackerman and Jee Young Lee at 67. Kane back Canadian star Lorie Kane was another stroke back along with defending champion Meena Lee and Il Mi Chung. "I think I've learned over the last couple of months when I start being conservative. I don't just hit the shot that I'm feeling I should hit, that's when I get into trouble,'' Stanford said. "And my gut was telling me, hit the 7. Cut the seven in there. Put a little more spin on it. It was one of those shots where you visualise it and you see it in your head cutting around that tree. It was awesome. I hit it exactly like I wanted to," she added. The 64 in ideal conditions on the tree-lined London Hunt and Country Club course tied the record set by JoAnne Carner in 1978 at par-73 St George's in Toronto when the national championship was called the Peter Jackson Classic. Ten other players have shot 64s in the event, with Nancy Scranton doing it twice and Dawn Coe-Jones accomplishing the feat at the Hunt Club in 1993. "I saw the scoreboard and it said 8,'' Stanford said. "And I was like, Eight under? Is that me?' All day, even when I made the turn at 5 under, I just told myself Don't do anything different! Don't sit on it! Don't get conservative." Stanford drives Stanford, the former Texas Christian University star who followed her 2003 Shoprite Classic victory with a memorable playoff loss to Hilary Lunke in the US Women's Open, hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation and 12 of 14 fairways. She hit 289 and 278-yard drives on the two measuring holes and had 28 putts in her morning round. "I just gave myself some chances and the putts were going in,'' said Stanford, who holed two 12-foot (3.6-meter) birdie putts and also made a 10-footer (3 meters). She tied for second in May in the Franklin American Mortgage in Tennessee, two strokes behind the winner Kerr, but has struggled recently, tying for 38th and 36th the last two weeks in France and England. The 28-year-old Texan also tied for third last year at Glen Arbour in Halifax, Nova Scotia, her best finish of the season. "It seems like I'm pretty comfortable on the golf courses up here,'' she said. Kerr finished three shots behind Sherri Steinhauer on Sunday in the Women's British Open. The seven-time tour winner was a stroke back with three holes to play at Royal Lytham, but bogeyed 16 and finished with a double bogey. "It was definitely nice to get back out on the golf course,'' Kerr said. Kane, whose vocal gallery swelled to more than 1,000, is trying to become the second Canadian to win an LPGA Tour event in Canada. Jocelyne Bourassa did it in the 1973 La Canadienne, the forerunner to the current event. "To be home playing in Canada, I'm excited and having a lot of fun,'' Kane said. "We're in the entertainment business and it's fun to play in front of people that are as excited as these people are.'' Fourth longest tour The Hunt Club, designed by Robert Trent Jones in the 1950s and renovated by Jones' son, Rees, in 2000, is the fourth-longest on the tour this year at 6,611 yards. It features greens that average nearly 10,000 square feet (929 square meters). "These greens are huge and they're very interesting to read,'' Kane said. The Royal Canadian Golf Association estimated the crowd at 12,500. "This really feels like a major to me. The crowds that we got today, for a Thursday, I was incredibly surprised," said Kerr. Divots: Patricia Meunier-Lebouc (75) had a hole-in-one on the 192-yard 17th, the longest ace of the season on the tour. She used a hybrid club. Se Ri Pak, the McDonald's LPGA Championship winner who withdrew last Friday at Royal Lytham because of a neck injury, was six strokes back after a 70. Meg Mallon, a three-time winner in Canada, shot a 72, and Brandie Burton, the 1993 champion at the Hunt Club, had a 73. (AP)

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