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Angela Stanford is a repeat winner in the LPGA Senior Championship at Copper Rock

A two-week run unlike anything in Utah pro golf history ended Saturday, much the same way the last LPGA Senior Championship concluded.

Angela Stanford overtook Cristie Kerr on Copper Rock Golf Course’s back nine Saturday, becoming the second two-time winner in the seven-year history of the event that formerly was staged in Indiana and Kansas.

Two-time LPGA Senior Championship winner, Angela Stanford. (Photo: Fairways Media/Randy Dodson)

I’ve never (successfully) defended anything in my life,” Stanford said during the awards presentation. “So, a special place in my heart, here at Copper Rock.”

The previous Saturday, rookie Fiona Xu broke the LPGA Epson Tour’s 54-hole scoring record with a 22-under-par total in Hurricane. Stanford (70-67-69) finished at 10 under, three strokes ahead of Kerr, to earn the $60,000 winner’s check. Her week was highlighted by a 29 on the front nine Friday, helping her take a two-stroke lead over Kerr into the final round. Only five golfers shot par or better for three days: Stanford, Kerr, Maria McBride (-2), Becky Morgan (-1) and Juli Inkster (Even), who’s 63.

Copper Rock’s doubleheader produced a repeat win for the 46-year-old Stanford in the tournament for golfers 45 and older, although this victory was less dramatic or chaotic than last year’s ending in Jasper, Indiana. That outcome required some cooperation from Trish Johnson (the other two-time winner), as Stanford finished one stroke ahead. In this case, Stanford made three birdies on the back nine, while Kerr faded slightly with two bogeys and one birdie on that side to complete her senior debut.

Probably more of a relief than anything,” Stanford said, describing her emotions. “Any professional golfer will tell you the second one is the hardest.”

2023 Utah Senior Women’s State Amateur champion Nuny Khamken played in the LPGA Senior Championship on a tournament exemption at Copper Rock in Hurricane, UT. (Photo: Fairways Media/Randy Dodson)

The week also was memorable for Nuny Khamken, the Utah Senior Women’s State Amateur champion. She would like to have shot better than 90-85-89, yet she finished nine strokes ahead of the other amateur in the field. She’ll return to Utah Golf Association competition Wednesday, playing with Jane Olson in the Women’s Four-Ball at Toana Vista GC.

Khamken’s final-round goal was to “try to finish strong, but have fun. Enjoy the moment,” she said afterward. “I’m looking around, and you know what? I’m feeling really, really happy to be here, and had lots of supporters, lots of fans.”

Stanford, a Texan who uses a TCU bag and a “Go Frogs” yardage book cover, undoubtedly made some friends in Southern Utah. The LPGA Senior Championship brought women’s golf stars to compete in the state for the first time in 60 years, dating to the 1964 Riverside Ladies Open in Provo, where the likes of Mickey Wright and Kathy Whitworth played.

The blend of players who are on their way to the LPGA Tour and those who have already been there created a distinction for Copper Rock during these two weeks. “I know it’s been a long couple weeks for everybody,” Stanford told organizers and volunteers. “I can’t thank y’all enough. You’re growing women’s golf. You’re helping us continue to elevate women’s golf.”

Having won consecutive titles of her own, Stanford added, “Thank you for going back-to-back. I hope you get to do it again.”

The Epson Tour is contracted to keep coming to Copper Rock through 2028; the LPGA Senior Championship is a year-to-year proposition.

Written by Fairways Media senior writer Kurt Kragthorpe. 

LPGA Senior Championship Leaderboard.