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Mid-marathon training, Stanford (65) off to good season start at Diamond Resorts

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Maybe there’s something to this marathon training.

Angela Stanford, who is squeezing a 26.2-mile race into her schedule this year, opened the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions with a 6-under-par 65 Thursday to get into early contention in the LPGA’s season opener. She’s two shots behind Danielle Kang.

Stanford shared news on Wednesday that she’ going to run the Los Angeles Marathon on March 8. She believes it will help her physically and psychologically.

Stanford training for marathon during season

Angela Stanford is training to run a marathon for the first time during the LPGA season in hopes of strengthening her mental toughness, something she's been trying to improve.

“I need to be mentally stronger,” she said.

Stanford could feel the benefit training may have on her golf during Thursday’s round.

“Mentally, even today, I kind of hit a wall,” Stanford said of the challenge golf has presented her in recent years. “I told my caddie, I feel like I’m kind of checking out a little bit. So, I'm really, really trying this year to kind of stay in the moment, and kind of do the process. Running a marathon is a lot like that. If you're thinking about mile 26 when you start, you're in trouble.”

Full-field scores from the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions

Stanford, 42, a six-time LPGA winner, broke through to win her first major at the 2018 Evian Championship. A rib injury late that year spilled into 2019, and she was never fully able to build on the momentum won in France.

She believes the marathon training will help her beyond strengthening her legs.

“I don't know if it's just me, or if it is when you get older, it's hard to hold your focus,” Stanford said. “I felt it the last couple of years, where I'm like, 'Man, I played nine really good holes and then I kind of hit a wall in the back nine.’ I never want to say it's an age thing, but it is different. When you're 25, I think your attention span . . . these kids, you know what I mean, they can hold their focus.”