Crestfallen Stanford lost for answers

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

The last thing Angela Stanford wants to be known as is a classy loser.

Unfortunately, that's exactly the title Stanford is going to have to live with yet again as she cracked in the final few holes at the Canadian Women's Open yesterday.

Stanford started the day in control of the tournament, four shots up on defending champion Meena Lee and a full eight shots ahead of Cristie Kerr.

It's safe to say the 28-year-old never thought it would be Kerr who would cause her the biggest headache.

But by the time Kerr made the turn, she'd bitten into Stanford's lead and the leader could feel the heat. Kerr finished with a 65. She watched from the caddie's compound as Stanford bogeyed the 17th to put her in a tie, then went to practise. Kerr believed there was a good chance for a playoff but she didn't believe she would win it outright.

Stanford drove it in the bunker on 18 and three-putted to give Kerr the win.

It was the second time this year Stanford has suffered a meltdown to Kerr. In Nashville, Stanford had a four-shot lead on the final day but Kerr won by two shots.

It was a composed Stanford who handled questions about her inability to close out a tournament. Kerr has a reputation as having a killer-type instinct. Stanford was asked if that was something she lacked.

"I'm going to say no, I'm not. But it appears that way right now. That's just something that I need to work on, closing the door."

Stanford had played wonderfully all week. She opened with a course record-tying 64. Whenever a challenger appeared, she fought it off.

Stanford appeared in control until the final nine holes. She said she made some bad choices, including club selection.

Stanford said she felt in control all day, including her emotions. She was stumped when asked what went wrong.

"I don't know the answer yet," she said. "I don't have a clue as to what's going on."

It isn't difficult to understand how she'd feel confused. One minute the tournament is in her grasp, the next it's gone.

"Right now, I would say this is (the most disappointing situation I've been in)," she said.

Stanford has won once on the LPGA Tour and that was in 2003, the same year she finished second in the U.S. Women's Open.

Kerr, who has won eight times on the tour, said you have to learn how to win.

"I think it's a learned behaviour," she said. "She's going to win oodles of tournaments. I won my first tournament at Las Vegas. I had a three-shot lead on the back nine and ended up going a seven-hole marathon playoff.

The longer Stanford answered questions in the press conference, the more the realization seemed to sink in that she's lost a tournament she had in her back pocket.

"I'm not sure how I'm going to react to this one," Stanford said. "It's probably a good thing I'm playing next week. It's probably good to keep going."


Videos

Photos