Allisen Corpuz wins the US Women’s Open at Pebble Beach

Paolo UggettiESPNJul 9, 2023, 09:04 PM ET6 minute reading

Allisen Corpuz: ‘Dream come true’ to win the US Women’s Open

Allisen Corpuz is considering winning the US Women’s Open at Pebble Beach for her first LPGA title.

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — In the same week that Honolulu’s Michelle Wie West said goodbye to the women’s game, another Honolulu product, Allisen Corpuz, stepped up to Pebble Beach to win the US Women’s Open — the first ever played at the legendary course — for her first LPGA title.

The 25-year-old Corpuz was the only golfer in the 156-player field to card rounds under par all four days of the tournament. And on Sunday, she compiled a dominant final-round 69 to finish at 9-under — a whopping 3 shots clear of the course — and claim the $2 million prize, the richest ever for an LPGA major champion.

“My mind is racing,” Corpuz said after hoisting the trophy. “It was something I had dreamed of, but at the same time I kind of never really expected it to happen.”

Corpuz has come a long way since she took up the sport in Hawaii as a way to spend time with her father and brother on the weekends. There she fell in love with not just the game, but the idea of ​​improving and hitting the ball further and further at her local driving range.

“Honestly, I sucked and I wanted to get better,” Corpuz said. “I think it’s just who I am as a person.”

As she improved, Corpuz went on to break Wie West’s record as the youngest player to qualify for the US Women’s Amateur Public Links tournament. A few years later, in 2014, she watched from home as Wie West won the US Women’s Open at another historic first-time venue, Pinehurst.

Corpuz joined Wie West as the only major champions from Hawaii.

“She’s been a huge role model, but I’ve never really compared myself to her,” Corpuz said. “Like I said, I never really thought I’d make it this far.”

Sunday, however, was proof that Corpuz’s journey deserved a fitting result, that all the work she had put in coalesced into a historic moment for her, even if she never expected it.

“It was smart golf,” Corpuz’s caddy, Jay Monahan, told ESPN. “That’s one thing she’s very good at. I don’t really have to help it that much. I mean, she’s just good at playing the court that she needs to.”

The final round began with Corpuz 1 shot behind Japan’s Nasa Hataoka. After producing two bogeys and three birdies on the front nine and making the turn tied with Hataoka at 7 under, Corpuz steadied the ship on the back nine, fending off fierce attacks from not only Hataoka but also England’s Charley Hull, who shot a final- round-low 66.

After Corpuz birdied the 10th hole to take a 1-stroke lead, she didn’t look back, adding birdies on 14 and 15 to cement the result that made her the first American to secure her first victory at a US Women’s Open since Hilary Lunke in 2003.

“I feel like everything that’s happened this year has kind of prepared me for this moment,” Corpuz said. “Telling myself that I belong out here, I’m good enough to compete. That’s just what I’ve been telling myself for the last two years.”

Allisen Corpuz, who finished at 9-under 279, was the only player in the field to break par all four days of the tournament.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Like her even demeanor that never wavered all week, Corpuz’s play was sound throughout. Rarely has she ever strayed from the fairways — she hit 43 of 56 for the week — and paired that with 2.77 strokes gained on approaches, second best in the field.

Her putting was particularly stellar on Sunday, as she made four putts of 10 feet or more, doubling what she had made all week from that range. That aspect of her game has improved dramatically since arriving at USC in 2016. As a Trojan, she led the women’s team with a 71.57 stroke average and was named a first-team All-American.

“She’s a generational iron player and ball attacker,” Justin Silverstein, her coach at USC, told ESPN in a phone call Sunday. “This week has been a lot of what we saw in college. When it’s real, it looks like a video game.”

She turned pro in 2021, the same year she represented the United States in the Curtis Cup, and while she had yet to win a major or an LPGA tournament, her performance had been on the rise in 2023. At the first two majors of the year, Corpuz finished tied for 15 .place and tied for fourth place. As far as Silverstein was concerned, it was only a matter of time before it all came together.

“It’s no surprise on this golf course that she’s outstanding,” Silverstein said of his thoughts at the start of the week. “She is built for major championships.”

Heading into the week, Silverstein said he felt Pebble Beach presented an ideal golf course and setup for Corpuz. The small greens would highlight her accurate ball striking, while the fairways were just wide enough for her to live within bounds if she hit anywhere close to her 85% fairway rate this season.

The poa annua grass on the greens is a familiar putting surface for Corpuz, who played on similar grass both growing up and in college. In fact, as Silverstein pointed out, Corpuz still does much of his game, practicing on Southern California golf courses with similarities to Pebble.

Corpuz’s success extends beyond her hitting. She has also worked extensively with Bill Nelson, a mental performance coach for LPGA players. As Silverstein pointed out, Nelson and Corpuz have spent time working on not just visualization, but also breathing techniques and even controlling her gait from shot to shot so that she remains calm and composed throughout.

“I talked to [Nelson] a little bit this morning just to try to calm down a little bit,” Corpuz said. “For me, I get a little fast, so I was really just trying to slow it all down and enjoy the moment.”

When Corpuz stepped up to the final hole on Sunday, the outcome was no longer in doubt, her calm composure and pace remaining. But after she hit the final fairway of the week with another accurate drive, she began walking down the 18th fairway toward the rousing cheers and trophy that awaited her and allowed herself to smile. It was finally time to enjoy the moment.

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