Angela Stanford hasn’t played as well through three rounds as she has this week at the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I in at least two years.
But after back-to-back 65’s on Friday and Saturday, the 40-year-old is just one shot back of the lead heading into Sunday’s final round. She’s in line to become the oldest winner on the LPGA Tour since Catriona Matthew in 2011.
The native of Fort Worth, Texas, made just two bogeys Saturday but they were offset by eight birdies, including three in a row to start her round. Although she had a sizzling Saturday, she admitted afterwards she was “surprised” at how good her score was seeing as she hasn’t felt great about her swing this week.
She said her putting has been key to her success through three rounds and especially Friday and Saturday. She shot a 2-over-par 73 on Thursday.
“I think that's kind of what's kept me in it,” she said of her putting. “I'm seeing the lines pretty well. I didn't have the speed the first day. I didn't have it at all. I kind of figured it out the last two days.”
Stanford said between making a birdie on her final hole of the day and the way she’s putting the ball overall gives her a ton of confidence heading into Sunday’s final round, as she looks for her first win on the LPGA Tour since 2012.
“I just have a lot of confidence in my putter. I think if I could keep that up, tomorrow will be good,” she said. “But, you know, again, I'm just as surprised as anybody, I think.”
Stanford has notched three top 10’s so far this year and sits 49th in the Race to the CME Globe. She’s a six-time Solheim Cup member as well, playing on four straight teams from 2007-2015.
Missing the team in 2017 has given her even more motivation to return to the American squad for 2019.
“There’s always motivation. Especially when you miss one and you've made so many, and people seem to think, ‘well, it was probably her last one,’” said Stanford.
Despite the fact that Stanford is playing well, putting well, and more motivated than ever to return to the winner’s circle after almost six years away, she’s playing for an even more important reason – her mother, who had been cancer-free for eight years, has seen her cancer return. She’s in the middle of treatment for it once again.
Stanford said the hard part for her has been mentally getting to the course and playing golf while her mother remains in treatment. However, Stanford said she’s asked her if she wants her to come home to be with her and she’s said ‘no.’
“I feel like if she wants me to be out here, then I need to be out here,” she said. “I was struggling with that in Arkansas, at the KPMG (Women’s PGA Championship) a little bit. I feel like if she wants me to be here, I need to be here.”
And this week, ‘here’ means near the top of the leaderboard, in contention for a victory.