Stanford puts faith in game

JOHN HERBERT -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 11:08 AM ET

Angela Stanford says whatever happens today at the CN Canadian Women's Open is in God's hands.

"If it's my week, it's my week," said the tall Texan who takes a four-shot lead into the final round at the London Hunt and Country Club. "If it's not, I realize that God has something else for me."

The 29-year-old Stanford shot a three-under par 69 and heads to the Hunt Club for her 2:10 p.m. tee time with defending champion Meena Lee on her radar screen -- not Canadian Lorie Kane -- who fell out contention with a 73 on moving day and is eight shots out of the lead.

Stanford, who has only one win in her LPGA career back in 2003, has a 54-hole score of 13-under par of 203.

When Brandie Burton won the du Maurier Classic her in 1993 she finished at 11 under.

Meena Lee shot the round of the day yesterday, a six-under 66 and is at 207 followed by 20-year-old Jee Young Lee shot shot 71 for 208.

Kane is in a four-way tied for fifth spot at 210 and would need a miracle round and a total collapse by Stanford to have any chance to taking a run at the championship that was within reach until yesterday. Her hopes were dashed on the 12th when she made a double bogey after being distracted by a a moving shadow from a bright orange flag a marshal was holding behind her on the tee. She yelled at the marshal after hitting into trees but apologized after the round.

"I normally move the marshals but I didn't do it that time," she said. "It's my fault. I know he was doing his job so I do apologize for that."

Kane was also victimized on the first tee when a cellphone rang as she was in her pre-shot routine before hitting her opening shot of the day. She made par on the hole and afterward didn't make a big deal of the incident.

Most of the gallery of 14,500, boosting the three-day total to 40,500, knew as Kane arrived to the 18th green her dream of winning was pretty much over. That probably explained why they gave her such a thunderous ovation as she walked off the green and Kane, knowing she has a huge task ahead of her today, returned the favour with a huge smile.

Today they can turn their attention to Stanford, who next to Kane is the most popular player here this week.

As Stanford walked to the media centre from the 18th green, a young lad of about eight or nine years old asked if he could have her glove.

"That's my lucky one," she said, patting the boy on head.

Stanford stopped and signed the boys baseball cap and called out to her caddy to get a glove out of her bag."

Even Stanford felt "like a villain'' this week with Kane breathing down her neck the first two days and all of London and Canada cheering for the Canadian star.

"I even wore my black and everything today," she said, pointing to her cap and golf shirt.

Stanford said she will rely on her spirituality to get through tomorrow's round, and some aggressive shot making. She said she'd normally rather be in church on Sunday but in this case with a victory -- and a $255,000 US payday in sight -- she can wait until Tuesday when Christian tour players hold their weekly service.

"The big thing for me tomorrow is I just need to attack this golf course," she said. "Whether that means having conservative targets and then aggressive swings I have got be aggressive."

Stanford is at a loss to explain why she hasn't been able to win a second LPGA event, but added everyone says the second one is harder to win than the first. She came close in 200 * -- the same year as the ShopRite Classic -- finishing second at the U.S. Women's Open. But since then, it's been tournament after tournament without winning.

"The mental game is the key," she explained. "Am I kicking myself? How am I reacting to bad shots? For me a lot of it is spiritual, too.

"It's been an eternity. How do I duplicate that first one. You spend all your time trying to duplicate what you did that week and it drives you crazy."

Canadians may be saying a prayer for Kane today but even that probably won't be enough.

Stanford will be saying her own prayers this morning before heading to the course. And if she wins, it wouldn't at all surprise her if neighbours back home in Saginaw, Tex. celebrate.

"The last time I won and came home they had a big sign on my garage door."


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