Some 29 years ago, sometime during the 1991 U.S. Women’s Open, a 13-year-old seventh-grader picked up a white golf visor with a red stripe near the top. On the right side of the bill, the words “1991 U.S. Women’s Open Colonial Country Club” formed a circle around a drawing of the host’s clubhouse.
Sometime around a decade later, she would even have it autographed by Meg Mallon, the tournament’s champion, with the lowercase “g” in “Meg” and the uppercase “M” in “Mallon” looping low.
Thursday, at 9:20 a.m. Houston time, on the first tee on the Cypress Creek Course at Champions Golf Club, on the very first shot of this year’s U.S. Women’s Open, on the very first shot at a U.S. Women’s Open in Texas since that ’91 Open, Angela Stanford wore her visor again.
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“It speaks to the fabric and the history of this event, why so many players covet playing in it, competing in it, being a part of it and, obviously, trying to win a championship,” analyst Paige Mackenzie said during Golf Channel’s broadcast of the first round.
Enough so to dust off a 29-year-old visor.
Stanford is one of seven Texas natives in the event, and to honor the U.S. national championship’s return to the Lone Star State, the Fort Worth native was picked to hit the opening tee shot. Which she found out two days ago from Robin Burke, vice president at Champions and wife of the club’s founder, Jack Burke Jr.
“She was out walking around watching a few holes, and she’s like, ‘Oh, tee times are out,’” Stanford said Wednesday. “I’m like, ‘When am I?’ She’s like, ‘9:20.’ I was like, ‘That’s nice. I get to sleep a little bit.’ She’s like, ‘No, you’re first.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ …
On Thursday morning, Stanford, who won last week’s LPGA tournament, the Volunteers of America Classic near Dallas, said a few words to Jack Burke on her way to the tee and gave him a fist-bump. She put on her visor. She then hit her tee shot on the 409-yard par-4 left, only for it to hit a tree and bounce right and into lighter rough. Stanford would go on to shoot a nine-over 80.
“This is a really big deal, and it’s really cool,” Stanford said Wednesday. “Like, it’s just kind of – the whole week has been cake, and that’s the icing.”