Angela Stanford leans on patience, gets into contention

Angela Stanford leaves the 18th green after finishing Angela Stanford leaves the 18th green after finishing the day with a 4 under par for a total of 68 during the second round of the 2013 Women's US Open held at the Sabonack Golf Club. (June 28, 2013) Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

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Golf demands patience. It doesn't necessarily teach it.

Angela Stanford, a 35-year-old Texas pro, has been stalking golf balls for a living for 14 years -- and, before that, in age-group, high school and college competition. But it was only Thursday that she professed to have "learned a quick lesson" about forbearance.

After a first-round 73 that she thought should have been much better, Stanford played 's second round of the U.S. Women's Open with a commitment to serenity and was rewarded with a 4-under-par 68. That matched tournament leader Inbee Park for the best score of the day and brought Stanford within six strokes of the lead.

"I left here upset [Thursday] night," Stanford said, "because I lost it mentally when I missed the short birdie putt on 18 , then doubled 1 and bogeyed 2" and played the last nine in 3 over.

"I was extremely impatient and just really upset when I left. Then that happened on 5 and 6" -- back-to-back bogeys Friday after starting on the first tee. "I just kind of told myself, 'Don't do this again. Pull it together and get a par and let's start again.' "

Stoic at last, she ran off three consecutive pars, then four birdies on the next six holes. On a day when balls were disappearing into the haze and fog all day and players were constantly forced to adjust to the onset of blow-you-down winds, Stanford's eventual activation of the amnesia gene served her well.

Not without effort, though. She repeatedly has to relearn patience, she said, "because I'm not patient. But, you know, at least I'm learning. I recognized [Thursday] that it was the easiest that the course is going to play. I think that was part of the reason I was upset when I left.

"I felt I missed out on an opportunity. Just makes it harder the rest of the week."

Of 156 entrants, only a handful besides Stanford who completed 36 holes Friday bettered their first-round scores, and of those, only Stanford and So Yeon Ryu (73-69) have a realistic shot at winning the championship.

The message then, as Stanford had to remind herself, was: Wait out trouble. Deal with it.

"My poor caddie takes the brunt of it," Stanford said. "He hears a lot of negativity, and so when you see him walking way out in front of me, it's probably because I'm just letting go verbally and he doesn't want to hear it anymore."

A test of his patience, too.

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