May 4, 2013
WILLIAMSBURG — Angela Stanford didn't know that she's made the cut of every LPGA tournament at Kingsmill. Didn't know that her 9-for-9 track record on Pete Dye's River Course puts her in a club with only one other member — Natalie Gulbis.
But this Stanford knows: "I love it here from top to bottom, from the resort, to the volunteers, the community, and the golf course is just awesome. … You could put this venue on our schedule five times for all I care.
"There's absolutely nothing I don't like about this place. … My parents come every year. My mom's coming in late tonight."
That affection showed again Friday as Stanford fired a second consecutive 68 that leaves her one shot behind leader Ariya Jutanugarn.
The LPGA's truncated schedule — Kingsmill is only the circuit's ninth event of 2013 — has allowed Stanford to enter every tournament this season. But at age 35, and after 13 years on Tour, she's ready to cut back, the better to spend time watching her Texas Rangers and tending to her foundation.
The world's 18th-ranked player and a five-time LPGA winner, Stanford is as Texas as oil, armadillos and Willie Nelson — check her Twitter feed, @Angela_Stanford, for evidence. She hails from Saginaw, graduated from Texas Christian and resides in Fort Worth, not far from the Rangers' Arlington ballpark.
So devoted to (obsessed with?) the Rangers is Stanford that she red-eyed home from the LPGA tournament in Hawaii two weeks ago to attend a Sunday game against the Seattle Mariners — Texas won, 11-3.
The Rangers then hit the road, a blessing in disguise for Stanford, who was preparing for the inaugural LPGA North Texas Shootout last week in nearby Irving.
"Probably good because I would have been distracted," Stanford said. "I would have been sitting at the ballpark instead of entertaining."
Playing in front of friends, family and fans who rarely see her compete in-person, Stanford tied for 22nd at North Texas and headed to Williamsburg. She tied for fifth here last year after a final-round 64, her third Kingsmill top-10, but has never seriously contended on Sunday.
Stanford is among 11 players within three shots of the lead, a group that includes Stacy Lewis, the world's No. 2 player.
"Since I came on Tour (in 2009), Angela has become someone I've looked up to," Lewis said, "and she's been a great friend to me."
Lewis is a fierce advocate for the Angela Stanford Foundation, which funds college scholarships for students affected by cancer. Stanford began her philanthropy in 2006 with a benefit golf tournament for Texas charities serving orphans and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Three years later, she created her foundation.
Stanford's vision for the organization crystallized when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Nan Stanford, Angela's closest, underwent chemotherapy immediately.
"I've always wanted to do something with kids," Stanford said, "and when my mom was diagnosed … in '09, that kind of changed my world, obviously. Then I had a close friend who kind of nudged me to start the foundation. She passed away from … cancer, and just the more I realized it was becoming a part of my world, I felt like, OK, if we're going to help kids, let's help the kids that are affected by cancer.
"I always say if I would have been a high school senior when my mom was diagnosed, I probably wouldn't have gone to (college) right away because all the funds, especially for middle-class families, just go straight to medical and everything that the patient needs."
A child of municipal workers, Stanford grew up middle-class, an upbringing that informs her to this day. Indeed, she wears blue during Sunday rounds as a shout-out to blue-collar types.
"She's had to work for everything, and that's how it should be," TCU coach Angie Ravaioli-Larkin told Golf Week's Beth Ann Baldry in 2009. "In the real world, things aren't handed to you. You have to earn it. . . . It's kept her humble. She hasn't forgotten, and she never will."
Safe to say, the foundation's scholarship recipients won't ever forget Stanford. And here's the kicker: The scholarships are for four years.
"We don't just give them one year and leave them," Stanford said. "We kind of stay with them. If they make their grades, we stay with them all four years."
Fellow Tour member Jennifer Gleason is the foundation's executive director, and Stanford said Gleason does much of the work.
"Being gone all the time, it's hard to be completely 100 percent involved (in the foundation)," Stanford said. "So a lot of cutting my schedule back is just to be rested more, but also to be home more."
The recipient of the LPGA's inaugural Kia Community Assist Award in 2012, Stanford will be home next week hosting a foundation fundraiser.
"I really believe in her charity," Lewis said. "What she does for those kids is unbelievable."
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