‘A dream come true’: Inside Allisen Corpuz’s surprising U.S. Women’s Open win
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Allisen Corpuz plays golf with all the expressiveness of a yogi in meditation. Her emotion-free body language on Sunday at a major is indiscernible from how she looks in a Tuesday practice round. At times, it’s fair to wonder if she even has a pulse.
That demeanor was apparent on Sunday at Pebble Beach — from her first tee shot to her final putt.
When Corpuz finally did hole out on the 18th green, cementing her three-shot victory at the 78th U.S. Women’s Open, her steely exterior finally cracked. Tears flowed down her cheeks as she embraced her caddie and was doused with water by her fellow pros. As Corpuz walked off the green, she grabbed a towel from her bag to dry her face.
“My mind is racing,” she said. “This is really a dream come true.”
With her win at Pebble, Corpuz, who is 25, becomes the first American winner of the U.S. Women’s Open since 2016 and the first U.S. player in 20 years to make the U.S. Women’s Open her first LPGA title. The victory vaults her to the top of the U.S Solheim Cup standings and also makes her the first woman to win a major at Pebble Beach.
Sitting in the press tent with the Harry S. Semple Trophy beside her, Corpuz offered a frank assessment of the biggest win of her young career:
“I never thought I would get this far.”
Corpuz may not have foreseen this victory, but she’d been building toward a moment like this for much of her life.
When Corpuz began her golf journey two decades ago on the island of Oʻahu, in Hawaii, she couldn’t even get the ball to fly the apron at the front of the range.
“Honestly, I sucked,” she said. “I just wanted to get better.”
And with hard work, improve she did. Once she could clear the apron, she took aim at the first flag. And then next one. And the next one. She quickly became one of the brightest young players in her state, and then the nation.
In 2008, at the age of 10, Corpuz became the youngest qualifier in the history of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, breaking the record of fellow Hawaiian Michelle Wie West.
“She’s been such a huge role model to me,” Corpuz said of Wie West, who played in her last U.S. Women’s Open this week. “It was really awesome to break her record for the Public Links. But I’ve never really compared myself to her. I’ve always wanted to make my own name. She’s just served as a really big inspiration.”
While Wie West turned professional as a teen, Corpuz took an alternate route. She remained an amateur until she was 22, after a five-year run at the University of Southern California. In 2021, she earned her LPGA Tour card at Q-Series, and the following year enjoyed a solid — if unremarkable — rookie season.
Corpuz’s sophomore campaign has been a breakout year. She held the 54-hole lead at the Chevron Championship before finishing T4 — her first career major top 10 — and then finished T15 at the KPMG Women’s PGA.
All that was missing was a win.
Corpuz arrived at Pebble Beach for the U.S. Women’s Open without much buzz. Despite sitting at seventh on the U.S. Solheim Cup team standings, she was on few short lists to have a breakout week. Stars like Nelly Korda, Jin Young Ko, Minjee Lee and Rose Zhang stole the headlines.
But it wasn’t long before Corpuz could no longer be ignored.
Her three-under 69 in the first round elevated her into the top 10, and she remained there the rest of the week. With scores of 70 and 71 in Rounds 2 and 3, Corpuz was in solo second, one back of Nasa Hataoka of Japan, as the sun set over the Monterey Peninsula Saturday night.
“I don’t think I ever really thought I’d be in this position,” Corpuz said. “Just really, really grateful to be here.”
In the final round, there was little doubt of who was the best player on the golf course. Corpuz began her day with birdies on two of her first three holes to take the outright lead, and she never relinquished it (despite a spirited charge by Charley Hull). She added circles to her card on Nos. 7, 10, 13 and 15, the final of which featured an ever-so-slight fist pump.
“I think that was the moment when I kind of knew,” Corpuz said. “Like, I just need to get home.”
Corpuz had little trouble in that mission. She dropped a shot at the par-3 17th, but with pars on 16 and 18, she put the finishing touches on her maiden major — and LPGA victory — and became the only player to register top-15 finishes in the first three majors of the season.
“The fact that it’s a U.S. Open means a lot to me,” she said. “But knowing that it’s at Pebble makes it even sweeter.”
Corpuz walked off the 18th green to applause. The grandstands were filled to the brim, with the crowds along the ropes five and six rows deep. Fans who couldn’t get close enough to the green lined the railing of the staircase leading to Pebble’s clubhouse.
Among those in the crowd were Corpuz’s biggest supporters. Her friends. Her family. Her college teammates. All of them were beaming, some choking back tears.
“It’s super-special that both of my parents are out here this week,” Corpuz said. “It was just really awesome to know that we’re at Pebble, such a historic venue.”
Corpuz emerged from her winner’s press conference with a pack of officials, cameramen, reporters and agents trailing her. This is one of the perks — and headaches — of winning a major championship.
As Corpuz neared the 18th green, someone from her team called out for Corpuz’s mother, May, who found her way through the crowd to her daughter. As they posed together for photos with the trophy — Stillwater Cove shimmering in the background — May sobbed.
“It was something I had dreamed of,” Corpuz said of her week.
Surely even her dreams weren’t this good.