No. 4 USC Women's Golf To Play The Gold Rush In Seal Beach
The No. 4 USC women's golf team, which finished the 2019-20 season ranked No. 1 and with two consecutive wins, has opened the 2020-21 season with two more victories and looks to extend the overall streak to five when it plays in The Gold Rush at Old Ranch C.C. in Seal Beach, Calif., Monday and Tuesday (Feb. 22-23).
The Trojans, under third-year head coach Justin Silverstein, are riding a national-best streak of 14 straight top 5 NCAA finishes dating back to the 2019 NCAA Championships and won the most recent Pac-12 Championship in 2019.
The Trojans kicked off the new season with a dominating 26-stroke win at the Lamkin San Diego Invitational and followed it with a four-stroke win at the Sun Devil Winter Classic against an all Pac-12 field.
The Trojans will try to win their fifth straight locally this week, playing in The Gold Rush for the second time and for the first time since winning it in 2016. In addition to host Long Beach State and USC, the field includes UC Irvine, Cal Poly, Fresno State, BYU, Santa Clara, Idaho, Sacramento State, UNLV and Wyoming.
The schools will play 36 holes Monday beginning at 7 a.m. with 18 holes set for Tuesday. Results will be available at Golfstat.com.
USC's starting five this week will include senior All-Americans Allisen Corpuz and Alyaa Abdulghany, junior All-American Malia Nam, junior Katherine Muzi and freshman Christine Wang in her debut as a Trojan.
Three USC players and an assistant coach will miss the tournament while in COVID-19 protocols. USC Student Health conducted contact tracing and has cleared the remaining members of the program for athletic participation.
In 2016, USC won The Gold Rush by 18 strokes at 1-under 863 with Robynn Ree, Amy Lee and Tiffany Chan going 1-2-3 individually with Karen Chung tied for ninth.
Corpuz returns after earning All-American first team honors last year. In addition to leading USC with her (career-best) four top 7 finishes and five in the top 11, Corpuz (also an honorable mention All-American in 2018) topped USC with a 71.57 stroke average, the fifth-best in program history. She finished with a team-high-tying four rounds in the 60s, which gave her 10 for her career, joining a tie for 10th-most in program history.
Abdulghany and junior All-American Garvey are two time All-American honorable mention picks (2019-20). Garvey closed last season with three straight fifth-place finishes, including in Troy's final event at the Bruin Wave Invitational, where she was even at 216 (75-69-72). She also tied for fifth at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge at 3-under 210 (69-73-68) -- her final round one off her career best -- and was fifth at the Rebel Beach Intercollegiate at 4-under 212 (73-70-69).
She finished the season second on the team in stroke average with a career-best 72.00 (tied for 11th-best in school history) and her four rounds in the 60s tied Corpuz for team best.
Abdulghany was third on the Trojans with a career-best stroke average of 72.17 (16th-best in school history) last year and was second in rounds of par or better with 12 and was tied for third in rounds in the 60s (three).
She had three top 10s on the season, giving her 11 for her career. She posted a season-best fourth at the Rebel Beach Intercollegiate at 5-under 211 (62-67-72) and followed it with a sixth at the Bruin Wave Invitational at 3-over 219 (71-71-77). Abdulghany posted a then-season-best tie for eighth at the Stanford Intercollegiate at 2-under 211 (70-72-69).
In the off-season, Corpuz was a finalist at the 2020 North & South Amateur Championship, played in the 2020 U.S. Open and represented Team America in the Arnold Palmer Cup.
Garvey played in the U.S. Open as well, just missing the cut, while Abdulghany played against Corpuz in the Arnold Palmer Cup and helped Team International secure the event's title. Abdulghany also reached the semifinals of the 2020 U.S. Women's Amateur.
Nam, the 2019 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and a 2019 All-American, is a seasoned starter for the Trojans. As a 2020 sophomore, she registered four top 16 finishes in six starts, including a season-best tie for eighth in the season finale. Nam finished 2020 with a 73.44 stroke.
Muzi's off-season was highlighted by a big win in November, capturing the Golfweek Moorpark Amateur at Moorpark (Calif.) C.C. at 2-under 214 (72-70-72). The victory helped Muzi jump 133 places in the World Amateur Golf Rankings to a career-best 258th.
Sophomore transfer Alexa Melton comes over after a strong freshman season at Pepperdine that saw her post a pair of collegiate top 5 finishes last year, was second on the Waves' squad with a 73.50 stroke average and was included in Golfweek's "Top 10 Freshman to Watch" entering the season.
USC welcomes three freshmen this year. Brianna Navarrosa is from San Diego and was ranked No. 5 by Rolex AJGA as a 2020 prep senior and near the top 100 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. Christine Wang, from Houston, is another prep All-American ranked as high as No. 13 in Rolex and has been inside the top 150 in the WAGR. Rounding it out is Olivia Yun, an up-and-coming amateur from Carlsbad, Calif., who brings much top-level junior experience to the Trojans.
* USC waited more than 11 months to return to NCAA action and did so in style, winning the Lamkin San Diego Invitational by 24 strokes while senior Allisen Corpuz claimed medalist honors by birdieing the final two holes at the Farms G.C. in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. The Trojans combined for a 16-over 880 (295-290-295), posting a wire-to-wire win with UCLA and TCU tying for second at 40-over 904. All five Trojans finished inside the top 16, led by Corpuz's 2-under 214 (71-69-74), marking her first 54-hole win. She previously had finished first in the single round of the SDSU March Mayhem as a 2018 sophomore ahead of that event's match play format.
* The Trojans followed the season-opener with a four-stroke win in Scottsdale at Talking Stick, holding off host Arizona State for a four-stroke win at 6-under 858 (289-286-283) in the all-Pac-12 field. Four USC starters finished in the top 11, led by Copruz tying for third at 3-under 213 (71-71-71) while Abdulghany (72-70-72) and Garvey (74-70-70) tied for fourth at 2-under 214. Navarrosa tied for 11th at 3-over 219 (72-77-70), with a career-best final round. Junior Alexa Melton, in her debut effort as a Trojan while competing individually, took ninth at 1-over 217 (69-72-76).
* Allisen Corpuz's victory at the Lamkin San Diego Invitational was her second career medalist honor but first in a 54-hole event. She previously finished first in the single round of the SDSU March Mayhem as a 2018 sophomore ahead of that event's match play format (which USC also won).
* Corpuz's win in the season opener and third at the Sun Devil gives her six top 7 finishes in her last eight events, her ninth top 25 in a row and her 15th top 30 in her last 17 starts. It was also the fifth time in the last nine events she's been USC's highest finisher (includes one tie).
* Corpuz led USC with 13 rounds under par last year and has opened 2021 with five in six outings. She also co-led USC with four rounds in the 60s and has notched her first this year.
* Alyaa Abdulghany's tie for 10th and tie for fourth to start the season gives her four straight top 10 finishes, her fifth in the last seven events and ninth in her last 14. It's also 14 straight top 29 finishes, and 17 out of 18 in the top 29.
* Amelia Garvey's 16th-place finish and tie for fourth in the first two events marks her fifth straight top 16 result and her 12th top 16 dating back to the start of the 2018-19 season. She has four top 5s in her last five starts.
* Katherine Muzi's start in the season opener was her first and her seventh-place finish was a career best.
* USC's current four-tournament win streak ties for the second-longest win streak in program history and its two wins to start the season is its most since opening 2014 with five straight wins. Troy's current streak is also the second time the Silverstein-led Trojans have won at least three events in a row.