GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) – Angela Stanford shot a 5-under 67 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead over Inbee Park after the second round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
The winner of the inaugural tournament in 2008, Stanford had an 11-under 133 total at Guadalajara Country Club. The Texan won the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore in February for her fifth LPGA Tour victory.
“I told somebody just earlier that Lorena has done so much for golf, especially in Mexico, I would be extremely honored to win her tournament twice,” Stanford said. “Because I do have so much respect for her and respect for what she’s done with the game. I think it’d be pretty cool to have your name on her trophy twice.”
Stanford had six birdies – four in a row on Nos. 7-10 – and one bogey. She hit 12 of 14 fairways and 16 of the 18 greens in regulation.
“I’ve said all along I love the golf course,” Stanford said. “I think anytime you feel extremely comfortable on the golf course, you tend to relax.”
Stanford is a fan favorite at the end, as evidenced by the “Angie! Angie!” chants as she proceed down a long line of fans waiting for her autograph.
“It’s kind of fun,” Stanford said. “I think this week is so much fun because it’s so relaxed, and it’s so laid back. Seems like, when things like that happen, it means that the fans are having fun. So that’s good.”
Park, from South Korea, had a 68. She has two victories this year and leads the money list.
“I love the people here and especially playing in Lorena’s event, it is a big honor,” Park said. Especially playing in the same golf tournament with Lorena. I feel very honored and hopefully someday I’ll be like her.”
Cristie Kerr was third at 8 under after a 69. She’s winless since the 2010 LPGA State Farm Classic.
“I just have to not get too high when good things happen and not get too low when you have to keep moving on,” Kerr said.” I just have to keep doing that. It’s going to happen again, it’s just a matter of when.”
Second-ranked Stacy Lewis, coming off her tour-leading fourth victory of the season Sunday in Japan, was 7 under along with So Yeon Ryu and Candie Kung. Lewis and Ryu shot 70, and Kung had a 71.
Lewis has a 58-point lead over Park with two events left in the player of the year points race, putting her in position to become the first American to win the award since Beth Daniel in 1994.
“I mean, after last week, I kind of looked at it, and then, I mean, it’s really almost impossible to catch Stacy,” Park said. “I play with Stacy the last two days and she was playing really great. I think it’s almost impossible for the Player of the Year. I’ll just give my best and just see what happens. I mean, Stacy’s playing great, too so, I think it’s not going to be easy.”
Michelle Wie, tied for the first-round lead with Stanford and Kung after a 66, had a 75 to drop into a tie for 12th at 3 under. Wie won the 2010 tournament.
Top-ranked Yani Tseng also was 3 under after a 71.
Ochoa was 1 under after a 72. The Mexican star won 27 LPGA Tour titles before retiring at age 28 in 2010. She missed the event last year before the birth of son Pedro in December.
Suzann Pettersen, coming off consecutive victories in South Korea and Taiwan, was even par after a 74.