Most everybody who plays golf has had “one of those days.’’ The drives boom 20 yards farther than usual or the irons seem to have radar or the cup looks as large as a manhole cover.
It’s golfing nirvana and all you need to do is not think too much.
Angela Stanford certainly knows the feeling. Except the 30-year-old Texan with the cheerful twang has her own twist on what it’s like when everything goes incredibly right.
“It was one of those days when you couldn’t even get in your own way,’’ she beamed after opening the Safeway International on Thursday with a course record 10-under-par 62 at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club.
“Like that second shot at (No.) 18 — it was a bad shot. A really bad shot! But it worked out.’’
Yeah, when you’re hot you’re hot. Stanford’s 3-wood from about 235 yards at the 513-yard closer at Superstition Mountain was “hot’’ enough that the ball trickled onto the putting surface. That allowed her to two-putt for par and erase Cristie Kerr’s previous standard of 63 set in the second round of 2004.
Asked to describe her ridiculously good round, which included 10 birdies without a bogey, Stanford smiled and looked at the ceiling: “It’s kind of like an out-of-body experience. It all happened so slowly, I guess. ... Really, I’m still kind of in a fog here.’’
The good-natured Stanford even managed a laugh when a reporter asked for details on the poorly struck 3-wood that ultimately yielded the lowest round of her seven-year career.
“I liked the result. Don’t get me wrong,’’ said Stanford, whose previous best was a 64.
“It’s just ... how many words can I come up with for you? Hook, chunk, duck — it was just bad. ... Fortunately, I had enough topspin to make it to the green.’’
Most of us who play the game have been in that “zone’’ at one time or another, but on a much smaller stage with much higher numbers. And then the next time we tee it up, we stink up the joint.
“It is hard to do,’’ Stanford said of the difficult task she will have today — following up a super-low round with another lights-out effort.
Especially with defending champ Lorena Ochoa, the No. 1 player in women’s golf, breathing down her neck, three shots off the pace.
Actually, Ochoa had predicted on Wednesday scores would be “really, really low’’ this week. There was precedent. Besides Kerr’s 63, Ochoa shot 64 here a year ago, and Rosie Jones and Aree Song also pulled off 64s in 2005 and ’06, respectively.
Not surprisingly, as good as Stanford’s effort was, the 62 still was three shots off the tournament record. For those who have forgotten, that would be a 59 recorded by Annika Sorenstam in 2001, when the tournament was held at Moon Valley Country Club.
Sorenstam, who trailed Stanford by seven shots after a 69, said she was disappointed in her score on this day but not her play. The Swede even raised her eyebrows slightly when told of Stanford’s 62, but then brought the conversation quickly back into focus.
“Oh, yeah, the birdies are out there,’’ she said. “The good news is, I still have another chance to shoot a low round myself.’’
Ochoa, who made nine birdies of her own but also absorbed two bogeys, had a slightly different perspective.
“For Angela, it was a great day. I’m happy for her. She’s always pulling for me, and I want to say ‘great round’ to her,’’ said the Mexican superstar, who might be the most personable player in professional golf.
“It was a day for birdies. The course played short, and the par 5s were the key. It set up perfectly for a low round. I mean, I would (not) be surprised if there weren’t five or seven players that could go that low in a round. ...
“But good for Angela. I’m going to be back tomorrow and try to be aggressive and catch her.’’
Stanford, whose only victory came at the 2003 ShopRite Classic, said she knows what’s coming. She knows she must keep the pedal to the metal because of who is lurking in her rear-view mirror.
“All I kept thinking all day was, ‘I need to go as low as I can,’ because the No. 1 player in the world also is on the leaderboard,’’ said Stanford, who still had a smile a mile wide despite the daunting task that lies ahead.
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