Angela Stanford leads LPGA Founders Cup

The Associated Press
Friday, March 18, 2011; 10:22 PM

PHOENIX -- Angela Stanford got over a terrible hole in a hurry Friday in the first round of the LPGA Founders Cup.

After making a mess of the par-4 eighth for a double bogey, she holed out from a fairway bunker for eagle on the par-4 ninth hole. Her 8-iron shot bounced twice on the green, rolled a few feet, struck the flagstick and dropped into the cup.

"After our first two events, I found that I was struggling mentally, and I just get down on myself really fast," Stanford said. "So after the double, I thought, `OK, I have a choice here. I can either stay down ... or go to the next hole and try to make it better.' Usually, you don't get results that quick in golf."

Stanford finished with a 6-under 66 to take the lead in the tour's play-for-free U.S. opener. Winless since the 2009 opener, the former TCU player also birdied Nos. 10 and 13 and took the lead with a short birdie putt on the par-5 15th.

"I just really enjoyed playing the game today," Stanford said. "I was really focusing on just hitting the golf ball."

Instead of paying the players, the tournament honoring the 13 tour founders is donating $1 million to charity - half to The LPGA Foundation and its LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program and half to the top-10 finishers' designated charities.

"It's hard to get over that hurdle in your head," said Stanford, playing for her foundation. "However, you got to get over that and you've got to get over it quickly.

"Having a foundation of my own, I know how hard it is to raise money. ... I know how hard it is to get people to rally around you. ... I grew up in an area where people help people, so for me not to be here would be very wrong."

Brittany Lincicome matched Aree Song at 67, and 50-year-old Juli Inkster, Sophie Gustafson, Beatriz Recari, Amelia Lewis, Mina Harigae and Nannette Hill followed at 68.

In partly cloudy conditions with the temperature in the low 80s, large crowds lined the fairways at the Wildfire Golf Club.

"We had a lot of fans out there and that always gets me kind of juiced," Stanford said. "The fans here are amazing."

Lincicome birdied four of the first six holes on the back nine.

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