SINGAPORE | Angela Stanford’s experience told.
After six hours on the course on the last day of
the HSBC Women’s Champions at Tanah Merah,
the 34-year-old American won at the third extra
hole from the up-and-coming Jenny Shin.
Initially, all Stanford could say amid the
tears was that it was “cool.” Later, she would
admit that she had read at the pro-am dinner
that the event had previously been won by
Lorena Ochoa, Jiyai Shin, Ai Miyazato and
Karrie Webb but never by an American.
“I said to myself, ‘I’m an American, I’d might
as well give it a try.’”
The three extra holes – up and down the
414 yards 18th – took their time but the main
factor was the one-and-a-half-hour break for
an electrical storm. It struck at a time when the
leading trio of Stanford, Shin and Katie Futcher
had just one more hole to go.
Almost certainly, the delay worked in
Stanford’s favour, even if she did not enjoy
dwelling on an 18th hole which does not really
suit her game.
When play was suspended, she was 11-under
par and one behind the 19-year-old Shin, who
had been going great guns, holing putts from
everywhere and scarcely making a mistake. Yet,
the teenager had also played slowly, sometimes
requiring as many as four practice swings.
Heaven knows how many
people will by now have
pointed out to her that if she
had only played quicker,
she would probably
have had the
Christina Kim has already said her piece.
She tweeted on her way to the airport that she
had had the same 10.09 starting time as the
leaders (Kim was hitting from the 10th tee) and
finished 15 minutes earlier.
When Stanford and company returned to
the course, Shin hit into the jungle on the left
and ended up with a double-bogey, and when
Stanford missed the six-footer she had to win
at that point, the scene was set for a four-way
play-off which otherwise included Shanshan
Feng and Na Yeon Choi.
Feng fell at the first fence, Choi at the second
time of asking. Stanford and Shin went back for
more and after a fine drive from each, Shin got
herself into trouble with her second. It came
down short and left, leaving her a delicate chip
over a grassy indent. Earlier in the day, Karen
Stupples had holed much the same shot but now
the circumstances were altogether different.
The Korean made a good attempt but left
herself with an awkward three-and-a-half
footer for par. After she had missed, Stanford,
who had finished on the back apron in two,
succeeded with the three-footer she needed for
the par which did the trick.
Stanford, who has always seen Singapore as
her favourite place outside the States, did not
go looking for birdies in the play-off.
“It’s not a hole where people make bird-
ies,” she explained. “It was more about making
sure you stayed in it, that
you were the last man