Texas native Angela Stanford is appearing in another major championship this week, this time making her debut at the Senior LPGA Championship at Sultan’s Run Golf Club in Jasper, Ind. on the Legends of the LPGA. The 45-year-old LPGA Tour veteran has amassed seven career victories, including a major title at the 2018 Amundi Evian Championship, and recorded 93 additional career top-10 finishes en route to earning $12,152,462, the 17th most career earnings of all time. Stanford is a six-time United States Solheim Cup team member, and later this year will serve as a vice-captain for the U.S. team at Finca Cortesin for the 2023 Solheim Cup. With all of that experience derived from her 23-year Tour tenure, you’d think that the transition to senior competition would be a fairly easy one. But Stanford admits that she’s felt a bit more like a rookie than she expected to this week, especially considering how she goes about her business week in and week out on the LPGA Tour.
“It's a lot more laid back out here for a number of reasons. For me, I’m still a lot more structured. Like having a cart is weird. Having a rangefinder that I'm using, not my caddie. There are just a lot of little things that are different,” she said. “I literally feel like a rookie because I don't really know who to talk to, like when I have a question about something. It's hard to kind of take at 45 because you feel like you should know how to do this, but I've loved it. I've loved this week so far.”
Stanford joined the LPGA Tour in 2001 and many of the women she’s playing alongside at the Senior LPGA Championship were her colleagues during the height of her career. For a lot of the players in this week’s field, the event provides an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and reminisce on the good old days of competing full-time on Tour. And Stanford, while she’s now one of the youngest of the group and while she’s still teeing it up on the LPGA when she can, has enjoyed catching up with so many of the women she played against early in her professional golf tenure.
“It was kind of like a blast from the past. I kind of felt like it was 2001 and I was a rookie all over again,” Stanford said. “I have so much respect for all these ladies out here, and when I played against them, I looked up to them. All these ladies played a part in continuing to make the LPGA great and I think sometimes generations forget that. But I've just enjoyed seeing them again. I can't wait to compete against them. These ladies don't care who you are, they're feisty competitors and they're just trying to beat you. So that is fun to be a part of.”
When it comes to her goals for the week, Stanford is keeping things pretty simple. Playing three consecutive majors wasn’t something she realized that she signed up for, but she’s relishing the opportunity to fine-tune her game ahead of next week’s U.S. Women’s Open, what will be Stanford’s 95th consecutive start in a major on the LPGA Tour. For now, though, Stanford is most concerned with trying to find some competitive rhythm and just hopes to be able to play all 54 holes, something that didn’t quite happen in her first foray into senior tournament golf.
“Well, I'd like to not be (disqualified). My first senior event, the Texas Senior, I got (disqualified) for using slope on my laser so I'd like to make it through the whole tournament,” Stanford said. “Even if it wasn't the U.S. Open next week, I would still want to try to figure some stuff out. It’s a good chance for me to see where my game is and see if some of the things that I feel good about, I can turn into a positive result.
“Most people probably wouldn't sign up for three majors in a row, especially going from Baltusrol, you kind of stop in Indiana and then you make your way to California to Pebble (Beach). I haven't played much this year so any chance that I can play and compete, I'm going to jump on it. I'm excited to learn something this week and see how I can play.”