Late Friday afternoon, Hawaii’s greatest female golf ambassador, Michelle Wie West, exited the U.S. Women’s Open stage at Pebble Beach Golf Links with an emotional farewell. Two days later, a new star from the 50th state took a familiar stroll down the iconic par-5 18th hole. But this time, the cheers were for the latest winner of this storied championship, Allisen Corpuz.
Corpuz, 25, joined her fellow Hawaiian as a U.S. Women’s Open champion, shooting a final-round, 3-under-par 69 (72-hole total of 9-under 279) to claim the 78th edition by three strokes over Charley Hull (66) and Jiyai Shin (68).
Bailey Tardy (73), the surprise 36-hole leader who came into this championship No. 455 in the Rolex Golf Rankings, and 54-hole leader Nasa Hataoka (76), who shot a third-round 66, shared fourth at 3-under-par 285.
Ayaka Furue and 2014 Amundi Evian champion Hyo Joo Kim tied for sixth at 2-under 286, while Hae Ryan Ryu was two more strokes back at even-par 288. Newly minted professional Rose Zhang shot a final-round 72 to share ninth and defending champion Minjee Lee tied for 13th.
Corpuz, a graduate of the University of Southern California, became the first American since Brittany Lang in 2016 to hoist the Harton S. Semple Trophy and only the seventh in the last 23 years.
The member of the victorious 2021 USA Curtis Cup Team also joined a long list of players to make the U.S. Women’s Open their first win on the LPGA Tour, a group that includes World Golf Hall of Famers Annika Sorenstam and Laura Davies.
“My mind is racing,” said Corpuz, the first to win a women’s major title at Pebble Beach. “Like I said yesterday, this is really a dream come true. It was something I had dreamed of, but at the same time kind of just never really expected it to happen.”
Composed and comfortable in the cauldron that is a final round of a major championship, Corpuz was simply stellar on the greens, registering 10 one-putts, including a clutch 16-footer for par on the par-3 12th. She played the final 11 holes on what is Pebble’s most difficult stretch in 1 under par. That included birdies on Nos. 10, 14 and 15 without any putts longer than 10 feet. She also was the only player in the field to post all four rounds under par.
All of this occurred as Hull, a 27-year-old Englishwoman, made a Sunday charge reminiscent of what Meg Mallon produced 19 years ago when she shot a 65 to beat Sorenstam and claim her second U.S. Women’s Open title. Hull matched the week’s best round with six birdies and an eagle offset by two bogeys. Starting the day seven strokes back, Hull came out sizzling with an eagle on No. 2 and birdies on the third and fourth holes. She later holed a 30-footer on No. 16 that sent a roar through the property.
That early statement sent a message to Corpuz and Hataoka in the day’s final pairing.
Corpuz was more than up to the task with birdies on Nos. 1 and 3. A player who will always be intertwined with Wie West – she surpassed her as the youngest qualifier in U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links history – had been close in the year’s two previous major championships. She shared the 54-hole lead at the Chevron Championship in The Woodlands, Texas, only to finish tied for fourth with a final-round 74. Two weeks ago, she carded a 69 on Sunday to tie for 15th in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club.
On Sunday at Pebble Beach, she finished the job to become the 20th first-time major champion in the last 21 contested.
After celebrating with her caddie, Jay Monahan (not related to the PGA Tour Commissioner), she was met by both of her parents and Mary Bea Porter-King, who ran the Hawaii State Junior Golf Association that helped produce the likes of Wie West, Corpuz, fellow Curtis Cup players Stephanie Kono and Mariel Galdiano and many others who have gone on to play collegiate golf.
“My goal with the Hawaii State Junior Golf Association was to provide more playing opportunities for junior golfers in Hawaii,” said Porter-King, a former USGA Executive Committee member. “And also help them understand how important it was to play in USGA championships. It is hard to be a national champion unless you play in USGA championship.
“As one of our HSJGA alumni retires (Wie West), another one, rises to the top.”
“I mean, the big one, of course, is Michelle winning in 2014 at Pinehurst. I remember being at home and just being amazed. Yeah, just really being inspired by her. Just all the history. I mean, a major championship, it's really cool.” – Allisen Corpuz when asked about her earliest memories of the U.S. Women’s Open
“I think personally when I watch golf on TV it makes it so much more interesting to know the course, and I think … it helped to get us a lot of viewers this week. Especially just knowing the history. Tiger just absolutely annihilated this place [in 2000]. Yeah, it's really special. 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.” -- Corpuz
“Just make as many birdies as I can because at the end of the day I'm chasing it down, so it's quite fun. I quite enjoy chasing someone because you got to make birdies and you got to make a move up that leader board.” – Charley Hull on her mindset going into the final round 7 strokes back
“I'm not playing for second place. So I said [to my caddie Adam Woodward], ‘Do I get sweets?’ Which is candy, so it means I've got to go and take it, so I just hit a trapped 3-wood, hit a great shot. It just rolled into that left [greenside] bunker but it was a good golf shot. It was a shame because hit a good tee shot straight at that tree, but I didn't think it was going to end right behind it.” – Hull on her decision to go for the final green in two
“I'm so excited about playing at Pebble Beach, and until the last hole I had fans cheering me up, and I think I had a beautiful finish. Although I did not win the championship, I'm as happy as being a champion. I'll never forget this week.” – Jiyai Shin
“I actually had no idea that that was a thing. I walked into the scoring tent and Liz [Fradkin of the USGA] said, you don't have to play in another qualifier. So that's definitely a bonus for sure.” – qualifier Bailey Tardy after for fourth
“I'm just lucky to be in contention and just play at a U.S. Open golf course. Pebble has been absolutely incredible, and I wouldn't trade this experience for the world. It's been really memorable. I had so many fans and fun family friends out there. I'm just really living every moment.” – Rose Zhang
“This was definitely not my normal week. I have a lot of downtime usually, but I feel like despite all that, I navigated it all pretty well.” – Monterey, Calif., native Mina Harigae
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.