Texas rooting for Stanford

JOHN HERBERT -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

Back home in Saginaw, Texas, there's no doubt who they want to win the CN Canadian Women's Open today.

The Brady bunch, who live right next door to Angela Stanford on Buckstone Drive, are already thinking about putting up another banner to welcome her back -- win or lose. They put one up in 2003 when Stanford returned home after winning her first LPGA tour event, the ShopRite.

Doug Brady and his dad Dave said the whole town of 15,000 -- a suburb of Fort Worth -- is following Stanford's performance via the LPGA live scoring, in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram or on the London Free Press website.

Stanford has led since opening day when she fired a course-record-tying 64.

"It's not on TV down here," Dave Brady said. "How can you not cheer for her? She's such a very, very nice person . . . super nice. When's she's home she sometimes meets our daughter Melissa at the bus stop after school and walks her home.''

Saginaw is a commercial and residential community about 15 kilometres north of Fort Worth. The area was settled before the Civil War. The town got its name in 1882 for the Michigan home town of J. J. Green, a local landowner.

Saginaw is historically one of the most dangerous sites for tornado activity. One of the biggest twisters ever in Texas touched down a few kilometres from Saginaw's city centre, causing $5 million in damage.

Stanford's father is the city manager.

Golf opportunities didn't come easy as she played at public courses growing up. It wasn't until she started winning junior girls' championships that she got to play at some of the better private clubs.

After graduating from Texas Christian University, Stanford turned professional in 2001. She went on the LPGA Tour with a strong resume, which included nine college victories, winning all-American status four times and finishing second in the British Amateur.

Success didn't come quickly for Stanford, who seriously considered leaving the tour in 2002 and going home to find a job.

"At the ripe old age of 24, I figured my opportunity for success was long past," she told Links Letter, a Christian-centred golf publication.

"There was just one problem. I was going to have to tell my parents.

"I was about to head to Dublin, Ohio, for the Wendy's Championship when I reached my decision. A week after that, I was supposed to go to the British Open but I was ready to forsake my whole schedule and call it quits. It took most of my nerve but I called home.''

After missing the cut at the Wendy's, she flew home with only one thing on her mind, to go to church with her mom on Sunday morning.

The pastor's sermon that morning was all about quitting and doing it for the right reasons. When Stanford and her mother left the church she had made up her mind to keep on playing.

Less than a year later, she finished second in the U.S. Women's Open and won the ShopRite tournament -- till then her first and only victory on tour.


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