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Americans find positions on top 10

07/20/2015, 12:00am EDT
By By DAVID BRIGGS BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Lang and Stanford make runs at crown

Americans find positions on top 10

Brittany Lang crosses the bridge at No. 1 during the final round of the Marathon Classic on Sunday. She earned more than $50,000 for her sixth-place finish. BLADE/ANDY MORRISON

As the top American at the Marathon Classic, Brittany Lang took home more than a check for $52,465.

She also left Highland Meadows Golf Club with a burst of pride.

“Oh, yeah, I don't really think about it,” Lang said. “But yeah, to be the low American, we have so many good American players, absolutely, you hear that, you know you had a good week.”

Just maybe not the best one.

As the LPGA continues to expand its global presence— to wild success— South Korean Chella Choi’s first tour win marked the sixth straight time a non-American has captured Toledo’s annual event.

A handful of Yanks gave it a late run on Sunday.

PHOTO GALLERY: 2015 Marathon Classic Final Round

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Beyond Lang, who tied for fifth with an 11-under score of 273, Cristie Kerr matched the low round of the tournament with a 6-under 65, Angela Stanford carded a fifth top-10 finish in her last eight events here, and hometown favorite Stacy Lewis earned a measure of redemption. In all, six Americans finished among the top 18.

With a smile, Lewis found a silver lining in her 14th-place finish.

“I wasn’t completely horrible,” she said.

The Toledo-born star was being modest.

After an even-par opening round, Lewis spent the past three days showing her droves of supporters why she is America’s top-ranked golfer— and, at last, taming Highland Meadows.

On Sunday, Lewis bogeyed No. 5 before sinking four birdies over her last 13 holes, including on the par-5 18th. She shot a three-under 68 to finish the tournament at 8 under. It was her second-best finish in nine events at the rare course where she has found success elusive. Lewis tied for seventh at the 2013 Marathon Classic.

“I made some good putts, but it just still was not quite what I was looking for,” Lewis said, reflecting the standards of a two-time LPGA player of the year. “There are some courses you’re on and you just feel so comfortable and you can swing away and swing hard at it. Then there are other ones where it just doesn’t fit your eyes, and unfortunately, this is one of them.”

Stanford is just the opposite.

The 37-year-old Texan has found that age is just a number— usually one in the red— at Highland Meadows. Stanford, who has six career tour wins, finished second at the Sylvania course in 2012, tied for fifth in 2013, and tied for eighth this year.

Stanford shot all four rounds in the 60s to finish at 10 under (274).

“The greens are tough to read here, so I think experience helps,” she said.

Ultimately, time ran out on her back-nine rally Sunday. Stanford shot one over on the front nine before hitting three birdies on her next six holes— all par-4s— only to fail to take advantage of birdie chances on the par-5 17th and 18th. She carded a two-under 69.

After so many close calls here, how can Stanford kick down the door?

“Birdie 17 and 18,” she said, laughing.

Lang, meanwhile, followed the same trajectory.

The 11th-year pro sank her first of three birdies on No. 9 and pulled within two shots of the lead at 11 under with a birdie on the par-4 15th. Just as as Lang shoved into the mix , she could not apply added heat with three straight pars to close.

Her 3-under 68 was the latest chapter in the story of her close-but-not-quite career. Lang has earned almost $5 million in career winnings but has won only one event— the 2012 Manulife LPGA Classic in Canada.

“I've been getting really comfortable close to the lead,” she said. “I really thought I had a good chance today. I just couldn’t get anything going early. 

“But I’m really pleased with how things are going, and I’m excited for the next events because I’ve been playing so well.”

Contact David Briggs at: dbriggs@theblade.com, 419-724-6084 or on Twitter @DBriggsBlade.

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Angela Stanford eyes her putt on  No. 2 during the final round. She carded a 2-under 69 on Sunday to finish at 10 under. BLADE/ANDY MORRISON

Angela Stanford eyes her putt on No. 2 during the final round. She carded a 2-under 69 on Sunday to finish at 10 under. BLADE/ANDY MORRISON

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Tag(s): Pro  Golf  David Briggs  Marathon Classic