Stanford Outright Leader in Tennessee

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04 Franklin American Mortgage Champ.FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- Angela Stanford used strong iron play to take a one-stroke lead in the Franklin American Mortgage Championship, shooting a 5-under 67 on Friday on the Vanderbilt Legends Club's Ironhorse Course.
 
Stanford, who shared the lead with Beth Bader after the first round, had five birdies and an eagle in the second round, but made two bogeys while pressing too hard on the greens for some more birdies.
 
Sophie Gustafson
Sophie Gustafson had nine birdies and no bogeys Friday.
'Sometimes when I really want to make a birdie, I hit it a little bit harder than I should,' Stanford said. 'I just completely got out of the moment and really wanted to make that last one. I really wanted to go to 14 and just hit the first putt way too hard.'
 
Stanford, who led wire-to-wire in her lone tour victory in 2003 at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, has strung together consecutive rounds in the 60s for the first time this season for a 12-under 132 total.
 
Patricia Meunier-Lebouc (66) was 11 under, and Sophie Gustafson, who carded a career-low 63, was 10 under. Karrie Webb (68), Karin Sjodin (64) and Wendy Ward (66) were tied at 135, Cristie Kerr (69) was among four tied at 136, and Lorena Ochoa (71) and Grace Park (72) were six strokes back.
 
Stanford may be best remembered for sinking a long birdie putt on the final hole of regulation in the 2003 U.S. Women's Open, then losing to Hilary Lunke on the 18th playoff hole.
 
She said that performance carried her through 2003 and drove up her own expectations.
 
'I haven't done much since. Nobody else will say that but me. Maybe they will. But I really haven't. I think I've put a lot of added pressure on myself,' Stanford said.
 
Stanford did record two top 10s in 2004 and had a tie for third in 2005. Then she started working on a swing change that had her unsure just what yardage she was hitting her clubs, hitting over greens in Atlanta last month before she started seeing results last week.
 
Starting five strokes back of Meunier-Lebouc, Stanford had to deal with gusty wind after the morning groups played through a soft rain.
 
Stanford showed just how dialed in her swing is by hitting irons to 3 feet to set up five birdies, and she set up a two-putt for eagle on the par-5, 470-yard seventh after hitting a 7-wood 20 feet past the flag.
 
Her bogeys came when she three-putted from 15 feet on the par-4 17th and on the par-4 ninth -- her last hole -- with a two-putt after hitting a 9-iron to 15 feet.
 
'Out here, you have to be, or you're going to get lapped. You've got Karrie Webb and Lorena just to name a few that are just on fire this year, so you can't afford to sit on a lead,' Stanford said.
 
Meunier-Lebouc and Gustafson were grouped together and fed off each other's aggressiveness.
 
'It was like easy. We make birdies everywhere,' Meunier-Lebouc said. 'That doesn't happen very often, though. It was fun. You have to enjoy every moment because it (does) not happen every day.'
 
Meunier-Lebouc had a bogey-free round with six birdies thanks to her chipping. She holed a chip from 27 feet for birdie on the par-4, 396-yard sixth and set up birdies on two par 5s, Nos. 7 and 18, by chipping to 9 and 3 feet.
 
The key to Gustafson's magnificent round with nine birdies and no bogeys apparently was giving away the putter she blamed for a 71 in the first round to an autograph seeker.
 
'The other one was absolutely rubbish,' Gustafson said.
 
Switching back made all the difference as Gustafson rolled in three 18-footers and a 30-footer for birdie. She also two-putted from 45 feet for birdie on No. 7.
 
Divots:
Speaking of Lunke, she missed the even-par cut at 12 over, her sixth this year. ... Meunier-Lebouc chose to play here instead of Las Vegas because of an e-mail from the town mayor. She and her husband had stayed in Mayor Tom Miller's home in her last visit here in 2002 when this tournament had a different name and sponsor. ... How much might Gustafson's old putter be worth? 'Well, I don't know. You can see if you can find it on eBay,' she said.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Franklin American Mortgage Championship
  • Full Coverage - Franklin American Mortgage Championship