Allisen Corpuz found herself on the biggest and most beautiful stage in women’s golf and made it look like a stroll on the beach.
Never mind that she had never won on the LPGA Tour or that she had heard all week about the historic occasion of the U.S. Women’s Open held at Pebble Beach for the first time. Nothing could make her crack.
“Every few holes I kind of looked out and said, ‘I’m here at Pebble Beach. There are not many places that are better than this,’” Corpuz said.
There weren’t many better performances, either. Allisen Corpuz turned a tight duel with Nasa Hataoka into a runaway, closing with a 3-under 69 on Sunday for a three-shot victory to become the first American in 20 years to make the U.S. Women’s Open her first LPGA title.
At Pebble Beach, no less.
The 25-year-old from Hawaii was calm and cool, no matter the shot or the circumstances until reality set in as she took a three-shot lead down the 18th fairway. It’s a path taken over the years by the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods, all of them U.S. Open champions at Pebble Beach.
“Just knowing the history … Tiger just absolutely annihilated this place. Yeah, it’s really special,” Corpuz said. “Twenty, 30 years from now, I think just the fact that it’s a U.S. Open means a lot to me. But knowing that it’s at Pebble makes it even sweeter.”
She won by three shots over Charley Hull (66) and Jiyai Shin (68) and claimed the $2 million prize, the richest ever for an LPGA major champion.
Corpuz couldn’t contain a wide smile when she tapped in for par, only to cover it with her hand as the tears began to flow. She wiped them with her Aloha-print tower.
Former President Barack Obama was among the first to congratulate her on Twitter. Both went to Punahou School in Honolulu.
“Unreal,” Corpuz said. “This week has felt like a dream come true.”
Hilary Lunke in 2003 at Pumpkin Ridge was the last American to get her first win at the U.S. Women’s Open, that one in a three-way Monday playoff.
Corpuz, who finished at 9-under 279, was the only player to break par all four days.
Corpuz never gave anyone much of a chance. Hataoka lost her one-shot lead on the opening hole when Corpuz hit her approach to 5 feet for birdie, and the 24-year-old from Japan dropped too many shots down the home stretch.
They were tied at the turn until Corpuz hit her approach to just inside 10 feet for birdie on the 10th. The key moment was at the par-3 12th when Corpuz came up short in the bunker and had 15 feet for par. Hataoka rolled her birdie putt from the fringe 5 feet by the hole. Corpuz made her par, Hataoka missed her putt and the lead was at two.
It only got larger, Corpuz stretching it to four shots with superb wedges to 8 feet on the par-5 14th and 4 feet on the 15th. Both birdies made the final act a battle for second place.