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Stanford opens lead in Mexico

American hopes to win Lorena Ochoa Invitational for second time

Gulf News

Guadalajara, Mexico: Angela Stanford shot a 5-under 67 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead over Inbee Park after the second round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

The winner of the inaugural tournament in 2008, Stanford had an 11-under 133 total at Guadalajara Country Club. The Texan won the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore in February for her fifth LPGA Tour victory.

“I told somebody just earlier that Lorena has done so much for golf, especially in Mexico, I would be extremely honoured to win her tournament twice,” Stanford said. “Because I do have so much respect for her and respect for what she’s done with the game. I think it’d be pretty cool to have your name on her trophy twice.”

Stanford had six birdies - four in a row on Nos. 7-10 - and one bogey. She hit 12 of 14 fairways and 16 of the 18 greens in regulation.

“I’ve said all along I love the golf course,” Stanford said. “I think anytime you feel extremely comfortable on the golf course, you tend to relax.”

Stanford is a fan favourite at the end, as evidenced by the “Angie! Angie!” chants as she proceed down a long line of fans waiting for her autograph.

“It’s kind of fun,” Stanford said. “I think this week is so much fun because it’s so relaxed, and it’s so laid back. Seems like, when things like that happen, it means that the fans are having fun. So that’s good.”

Park, from South Korea, had a 68. She has two victories this year and leads the money list.

“I love the people here and especially playing in Lorena’s event, it is a big honour,” Park said. Especially playing in the same golf tournament with Lorena. I feel very honoured and hopefully someday I’ll be like her.”

Cristie Kerr was third at 8 under after a 69. She’s winless since the 2010 LPGA State Farm Classic.

“I just have to not get too high when good things happen and not get too low when you have to keep moving on,” Kerr said.” I just have to keep doing that. It’s going to happen again, it’s just a matter of when.”

Second-ranked Stacy Lewis, coming off her tour-leading fourth victory of the season Sunday in Japan, was 7 under along with So Yeon Ryu and Candie Kung. Lewis and Ryu shot 70, and Kung had a 71.

Lewis has a 58-point lead over Park with two events left in the player of the year points race, putting her in position to become the first American to win the award since Beth Daniel in 1994.