Ice-cool Corpuz triumphs as Maguire and Donegan finish tamely at Pebble

Mark McGowan

Allisen Corpuz (Photo: USGA/James Gilbert)

Allisen Corpuz’ red-hot putter and ice-cool nerve saw her take control in the early stages of the final round at Pebble Beach in the 78th U.S. Women’s Open, and maintain her advantage all the way to the finishing line.

With Michelle Wie West, Hawaii’s best known golfing export, one of the big stories coming into the week as she’s set to hang up her clubs, the ceremonial passing of the torch to fellow islander Corpuz had a sense of Hollywood as she now joins her as a U.S. Open champion after holding off a Sunday charge from Charley Hull.

Corpuz and Wie West’s careers have long been intertwined and not just for geographical reasons. The former replaced the latter as the youngest ever qualifier in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links and, with strong finishes at both the year’s preceding majors, must be strongly fancied to become Hawaii’s most successful major exponent.


Starting the day a stroke shy of 54-hole leader Nasa Hataoka, a birdie on the opening hole saw Corpuz take a share of the lead and took sole possession when she added another at three and Hataoka bogeyed.

The Japanese woman would briefly regain parity on the sixth hole, but Corpuz again edged ahead after flighting a delicious wedge to the iconic par-3 7th.

Four bogeys on the back nine saw Hataoka’s chances slip away, and Hull emerged as the biggest danger. An eagle at the par-5 second and back-to-back birdies on three and four saw her cover the opening four in four-under.

Hull had started the day seven back at level par, and her closing 66 was the joint lowest round of the week, and included a 30-footer for birdie on 16 that sent roars reverberating around the clifftops.

But Corpuz was not to be shaken, covering the back nine in one-under for a three-under total on the day and -9 for the tournament, making 10 one-putts in the final round and securing a three-stroke victory over Hull and Jiyai Shin, who’d closed with a four-under 68.

“I feel like everything that’s happened this year has kind of prepared me for this moment,” Corpuz said in her post-tournament press conference. “It’s super special that both of my parents out here this week. I mean, my dad only does KPMG and the U.S. Open, so really nice that he’s out here.

“I had a ton of family, friends out. I had my aunt and uncle and cousin out earlier, boyfriend’s parents, my college teammate. Just a lot of people out here.

“It was just really awesome to know that we’re at Pebble, such a historic venue, and yeah, just really amazing.”

Earlier in the day, Leona Maguire had started with nine straight pars but two bogeys and a double bogey in her first four holes on the back side saw her slip down the leaderboard, and though she’d birdie the 14th, rounded out the day with two more dropped shots on 17 and 18 to finish in a tie for 31st at +7.

Aine Donegan’s incredible week also came to a bittersweet end as a closing five-over 77 saw her beaten by one stroke for the silver medal for the lowest scoring amateur. That honour went to Italian Benedetta Moresco whose one-over 73 saw her post +8, and Donegan had unfortunately run out of fuel on the back nine.


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