USC Women's Golf Up Big After 36-Hole First Day Of The Gold Rush
Senior Allisen Corpuz raced to the top of the leaderboard with a pair of sub-par rounds, senior Alyaa Abdulghany is on her heels in second and junior Malia Nam, in her season debut, is tied for fourth, the trio leading No. 4 USC into first after the 36-hole opener of The Gold Rush at Old Ranch C.C. in Seal Beach, Calif., on Monday (Feb. 22).
The Trojans, who have opened the season with two straight wins with an overall win streak of four dating back to last season, will head into Tuesday's final round 17 strokes ahead of second-place UNLV. Troy sits at 4-over 580 (290-290) after identical rounds.
USC, which won this tournament in 2016 with a 1-2-3 finish, featured a new starting lineup for the first time this year because three players are missing the tournament while in COVID-19 protocols. But the starting five did more than enough to give the Trojans a good shot at winning on Tuesday.
Corpuz, already with two top threes this year including a win, leads the field by two strokes at 4-under 140 (69-71), producing her sixth and seventh rounds under par this year in eight tries and her second round under 70. She opened with a three-birdie effort in the first round without a bogey and was under par again in the second.
Abdulghany, with two top 10s this season including a tie for fourth in her last outing, is looking for another high finish, tied for second at 2-under 142 (71-71) and now has a streak of five straight rounds of par or better. She was 4-over after six holes to start her first round, but finished it at 5-under (including an eagle) and a lone birdie on 6 provided her a 71 in the second round.
Nam, in her first action this year, is tied for fourth at 1-over 145 (71-74). She had five birdies in
her first round to open her season and was solid in her second round.
Junior Katherine Muzi, in her third straight start with Corpuz and Abdulghany, is tied for 13th at 9-over 153 (79-74), finishing her second round today 1-under over her final eight holes.
Freshman Christine Wang, making her USC debut, bounced back from a tough opener to close with a 3-over second round which included an even back 9 featuring three straight birdies at one point. She is tied for 37th at 15-over 159 (84-75).
"These past few days presented some unique challenges for our program and I'm super pleased with how resilient this group is," USC Head Coach Justin Silverstein said. "This golf course played firm and fast today which made it quite difficult. We were very well prepared for this challenge because our home course, Rolling Hills C.C., has greens that run similar speed which generally take a lot of adjusting to.
"Allisen continued her incredible play today and it's great to see her hard word paying off. Alyaa is as tough as they come, tougher than a $2 steak. That she bounced back after a rough start is exactly why she's earned all the accolades that she has.
"Malia looked pretty sharp today in her season debut, which is a great sign as she hasn't competed much over the past 10 months. And it was nice to see Katherine and Christine come back in the afternoon and put up better rounds. We are looking forward to another opportunity compete on this very difficult golf course on Tuesday."