LPGA Shootout brings home North Texas stars

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, April 27th, 2013

angelastanford

By Chad Conine  

I’m not going to tell you that you need to get out to Las Colinas Country Club for the North Texas LPGA Shootout this week any more than I’m going to write that Dallas-Fort Worth needs a WNBA team.
But there are plenty of good reasons to want to check it out.
The LPGA returns to the area for the first time since Colonial Country Club hosted the 1991 U.S. Women’s Open. With all of the huge sports events that land in DFW every year, it’s hard to believe the LPGA has left the area alone for so long. Perhaps the LPGA believes the DFW sports fan is saturated with events to attend and therefore will pass on women’s golf.
But there’s too much good junior golf in the area for the LPGA to ignore it.
“It’s amazing how much better the talent has gotten in this area,” said Angela Stanford, one of DFW’s resident LPGA stars. “When I went to TCU — I don’t know how to word this — it wasn’t like I was having to beat out multiple girls. Now you have to be one of the best to go there. So in the 15, 20 years, it’s changed so much. I’m so proud of this area, how it’s gotten better and better and better and they are producing. Texas in general just produces amazing talent.”
One event that made Fort Worth home more than 10 years ago is the Kathy Whitworth Invitational, a top-flight junior girls tournament hosted annually by Mira Vista Country Club. I got to cover the tournament for a few years in the early 2000s and really enjoyed it. For junior golf, it was pretty impressive and caused me to be more interested in women’s golf in general.
Area golf fans who give the North Texas LPGA Shootout a chance this week could have a similar experience. So here are three compelling reasons to get up off the couch and out to Las Colinas:
Stanford and Lang finally
playing at home
Stanford played high school golf at Saginaw Boswell and college golf at TCU before launching into a productive professional career. She has won five times on the LPGA tour and posted three top-5 finishes in majors. Stanford is currently ranked 18th in the world and is the fourth-highest-ranked American. She lives in Saginaw, yet she’s never played a tour event at home. In fact, Stanford was about to enter the 8th grade the last time the LPGA landed in DFW.
“It’s great to be home,” Stanford said this week in a pre-tournament interview hosted by the LPGA. “I’m glad the LPGA is here. You know, I spend most of my time all year telling people how great it is here, so it’s nice to have the whole gang here.”
Similarly, Brittany Lang played high school golf at McKinney and won eight AJGA events before graduating in 2003 and going on to a college career at Duke. She turned pro in 2005 after tying for second as an amateur in the U.S. Women’s Open. Lang already has four top-20 finishes in LPGA majors and broke through for her first tour win last June at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Canada. She is currently ranked 36th in the world.
Lang, who joined Stanford for the pre-tournament interview event, said she hopes the LPGA can show off for her home fans.
“I am going to have a lot of the family and friends out, and that’s super exciting,” she said. “They don’t have to travel. They get to come out and see what the LPGA has to offer, so I’m excited for them.”
I’m lucky to have played golf with Stanford on several occasions and covered Lang as a junior golfer. Both ladies play fantastic golf and are deserving of some love from the home fans.

There’s a battle brewing for No. 1
Another player with Texas ties, Stacy Lewis from The Woodlands, claimed the LPGA Player of the Year honor in 2012 and held the world-No. 1 ranking until Inbee Park passed her a couple of weeks ago.  Both players are in the field for this week’s event.

The Pressel sisters square off

Morgan Pressel made a name for herself in women’s golf at 12 years old by becoming the youngest player at the time to play in the U.S. Women’s Open in 2001. She then upped the ante in 2005 by tying Lang for second place in the U.S. Open. Pressel turned pro in 2005, has a pair of wins including the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship and is currently ranked 55th in the world.
Her little sister Madison Pressel, a senior at Texas, tied North Carolina’s Casey Grice in the Collegiate Shootout and both earned spots in the LPGA event. Madison Pressel will be making her LPGA debut and playing in a pro tournament against her sister for the first time.
“This is her dream,” Morgan Pressel said in an LPGA release. “I remember when I played in my first tournament, how exciting it was to soak it all in, and it kind of became a reality that this is something I could do for a living. I hope she gets a great experience this week.”

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