angela Stanford won the eighth edition of the VOA Classic in The Colony Sunday, December 5, 2020. The 2020 Volunteers of America Classic purse is set for $1.75 million, with the winner’s share coming in at $262,500 — the standard 15 percent payout according to the LPGA Tour’s prize money distribution chart. As the final day of the Volunteers of America Classic began with two major champions, Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu, and LPGA Tour rookie Yealimi Noh with the 54-hole lead, Angela Stanford rose to the occasion just 55 minutes away from home at the Old American Golf Club. She secured her seventh career LPGA Tour victory and first since her maiden major title at the 2018 Evian Championship.
Stanford tied for the lead after three consecutive birdies on Nos. 6, 7, and 8, and pulled away from the pack after adding four more birdies on her back nine. Shooting the lowest score of the day with a fourth-round 67, Stanford may have closed with a bogey, but was over-the-moon nonetheless.
“Honestly, I never thought I would,” Stanford admitted about her odds of winning in her home state. “I think the longer you’re out here, it’s so hard to win on this tour. I think being at home, it took me a while to figure it out. The very first time we played in the Dallas/Fort Worth area I remember getting off the airplane and everybody from the tour kind of came with me to baggage claim. I’m like, ‘oh, that’s weird.’ So I just think learning how to play in your hometown is kind of hard because obviously I haven’t done it since Junior Golf, so I think I had to kind of figure it out. Big shout out to Cheyenne Knight. She proved last year you can win at home, so that inspired me and made me realize that I am making it harder than it needs to be.”
Stanford held a two-stroke lead while waiting for Park to finish on No. 18. Without a leaderboard and knowing where her competitors played, she kept fighting until the very end.
“I actually told my caddie, we were standing in 10 fairway and I said, ‘I don’t want to know where I am today unless we get to 18 and we have to hit a shot to either win or hold on to a win, but I feel like I’m in a pretty good head space today. I just don’t want to know,” said Stanford. “I was kind of watching Ko. I knew I was a shot off of her most of the day, so at least she was definitely beating me, so I kind of paid attention to her and it wasn’t until 14 where I made that birdie and she had a tough hole that I thought, ‘okay, and you can kind of tell with how people were starting to show up,’ but even on 18 I said when we were chipping, I said ‘do I need to get this up and down?’ He said ‘no.’ I said, ‘okay, well, I’m going to bump it into the hill,” Stanford said with a chuckle.
The win gives Stanford her first home-state victory and is her first since winning the 2018 The Evian Championship. Getting to stay in the lone-star state for a week more, Stanford and friend, Brittany Altomare, head straight to Houston, Texas to compete in the U.S. Women’s Open.
“Well, so I told Brittany Altomare I’d give her a ride down to Houston to pick up her car. I wasn’t going to let her drive my truck. Now I’m going to let her drive my truck,” laughed Stanford as she revealed how she would celebrate. “So I can sit in the passenger side; I’m not driving to Houston. Brittany Altomare will be driving to Houston.”
The day’s final grouping of Noh, Ryu and Park all finished in a tie for second, with Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jin Young Ko, who played the day with Stanford, finishing in solo fifth. Ko was tied for the lead after two birdies on her front nine, but a bogey on No. 14 pushed her down the leaderboard. Playing alongside the role models she idolized since she was a kid, Noh said she still remained calm until the end.
“I feel really good, and to be able to play with some of the greatest players in the world was a really good experience for me and I got to learn a lot from them. It was just a really fun learning experience,” said Noh.
if there is anything that this year’s Volunteers of America Classic champion 43-year-young Angela Stanford proved, it is that age is just a number. What really matters is how alive the heart is. Crediting her victory due to her “passion,” Stanford had a message for individuals of all ages.
“I really think it boils down to passion. I just love trying to get better. I think if you love what you’re doing and you love your process and you just love getting better, then you have to keep going. I would tell anybody, you work and you try until you just don’t have that desire and that passion anymore. I just turned 43. Not many people at 42 are going to say, ‘I want to learn how to chip the ball properly.’ So I just felt like if I’m getting close to the end of my career I don’t want to leave any stone unturned. I want to find out, if I chip it the best I can, if I putt it the best I can, if I hit it the best I can, what am I capable of before I’m done? I think if you have the passion to get up every morning and get better, you can chase your dream as long as you want,” said Stanford.
Rolex Rankings No. 79 Angela Stanford
- She hit 12 of 13 fairways and 13 of 18 greens with 27 putts
- Stanford is the second Texas native to win the VOA Classic after Cheyenne Knight (Aledo, Texas) won in 2019
- This is Stanford’s first win since her maiden major victory in 2018 at The Evian Championship, and her seventh career victory
- She is the first player at or over the age of 40 to win on Tour since Cristie Kerr (40, 2017 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia) and Catriona Matthew (42, 2011 Lorena Ochoa Invitational)
- She is the third American to win the VOA Classic, after Stacy Lewis (2014) and Knight (2019)
- Stanford is a six-time U.S. Solheim Cup Team member (2003, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015), and is an assistant captain the U.S. in 2021 under Pat Hurst at Inverness Club
- Stanford attended Texas Christian University, where she was a four-time All-American
- She created the Angela Stanford Foundation in 2009, a non-profit organization with a mission to serve children and young adults in our community, particularly those whose families have been affected by cancer