No. 7 USC In Georgia For Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic
The No. 7 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 three victories and four top three finishes as it gets set to play in this weekend's Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic, Friday through Sunday (March 19-21), at the University of Georgia G.C., in Athens Ga.
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, followed it with a four-stroke win at the Sun Devil Winter Classic against an all Pac-12 field, next won The Gold Rush by 34 strokes and then finished third at the Arizona Wildcat Invitational. Fifth-year senior Allisen Corpuz won at Lamkin and The Gold Rush and posted two other top fours.
A packed field awaits the Trojans in Georgia, USC one of four top 10-ranked teams in the Golfweek poll and nine top 25 squads. In addition to host Georgia and USC, the field includes Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Charleston, Florida, Georgia Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.
Tee times will start each day at 8:30 a.m. EDT. USC opens Friday's first round at 9:25 a.m. paired with Georgia and to-ranked South Carolina. Results will be available at Golfstat.com.
USC won the event in 2014 and 2015 when it featured one round of stroke play and three of match play. That was also the case when it finished third in 2016 and sixth in 2017.
USC's starting five this week will include senior All-Americans Allisen Corpuz, Amelia Garvey and Alyaa Abdulghany, sophomore Alexa Melton and freshman Brianna Navarrosa. It is Melton's first time in Troy's starting lineup.
* 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 Corpuz 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).
* Corpuz fired a final round 6-under 66 to finish first at 10-under 206 – both career-best efforts – while Abdulghany took second thanks to a final-round 68 and junior Malia Nam finished third, leading the No. 4 USC women's golf team to a dominating third straight win to start the season at The Gold Rush at Old Ranch C.C. in Seal Beach, Calif., on Tuesday (Feb. 23). The Trojans captured the latest victory at a combined par 864 (290-290-284), 34 strokes better than second place UNLV and Cal Poly. Troy's three straight wins to start the season is its most since starting the 2013-2014 campaign with five in a row.
* USC put three golfers in the top 13 for the fourth tournament in a row, led by Corpuz's fourth-place finish, while taking third place overall for the team's fourth top 3 in a row at the Arizona Wildcat Invitational in Tucson, Ariz. The Trojans' five-tournament overall win streak and three-tournament win streak to start the season were both snapped with their third-place 2-under 862 (279-291-292). The win streak ended, but USC still has finished in the top 3 or better in seven straight events dating to last season and in nine of the past 10 tournaments.
Trojans Ranked In Golfweek's Top 150
* Corpuz (5), Abdulghany (26), Amelia Garvey (46), Brianna Navarrosa (126).
* Allisen Corpuz leads USC in stroke average (70.25), rounds in the 60s (five, a career best), rounds of par or better (10) and rounds under par (10). She now has 15 career rounds in the 60s, tied for fourth most in program history, while her current stroke average is more than a stroke better than the school season record.
* 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).
* Her win at 10-under 206 at The Gold Rush was a career-best for most under par as she became the first Trojan to win twice in a season since Jennifer Chang did it in the 2018-19 season.
* Corpuz's two wins, a third at the Sun Devil and a fourth at the Wildcat gives her eight top 9 finishes in her last 10 events, 11 top 25s in a row and was her 17th top 30 in her last 19 starts. It was also the seventh time in the last 11 events she's been USC's highest finisher (includes one tie).
* Corpuz's four top 4s to start the season is USC's best start since All-American and longtime LPGA star Candie Kung started the 2001 season with seven such finishes.
* Corpuz was one of three early committee picks for the 2021 Arnold Palmer Cup that will be played at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., June 11-13. Corpuz joins Rachel Kuehn of Wake Forest and Brooke Matthews of Arkansas who can all make early reservations for the Palmer Cup later this year. Corpuz and Kuehn played for the U.S. in the recently completed 2020 Palmer Cup in late December, as did Trojans Alyaa Abdulghany and Gabriela Ruffels for the international side. Corpuz went 2-1 for Team USA.
* Corpuz was named to the ANNIKA Award Spring Watch List and was named the Pac-12's February Golfer of the Month.
* Alyaa Abdulghany is second on the team in stroke average, her 72.08 good enough for top 15 in USC's all-time season chart.
* Abdulghany has started the season with three top 10s in four events, giving her five top 10s in her last six events. She also has a streak of six straight in the top 13, including four this season, and 16 straight top 29 finishes, and 19 out of 20 in the top 29.
* Abdulghany has seven rounds of par or better, including five under par. Her 6-under 210 at The Gold Rush was her most under par as a Trojan and her streak of three straight tournaments of par or better is also her USC best.
* Amelia Garvey's has opened the season with a 16th-place finish, a tie for fourth and a 10th, giving her six straight top 16 results and her 13 top 16s dating back to the start of the 2018-19 season. She has five top 10s in her last six starts.
* Katherine Muzi's start in the season opener was her first and her seventh-place finish was a career best.
* Malia Nam made her season debut at The Gold Rush and finished third at par 216 (71-74-74).
* Freshman Brianna Navarrosa opened her career with a pair of top 11 finishes and has three rounds of par or better in nine outings with two under par, including a 69.
* USC's now snapped five-tournament win streak was second-longest in program history and its three wins to start the season was its most since opening 2014 with five straight wins. Troy's streak was also the second time the Silverstein-led Trojans have won at least three events in a row.
SIX Trojans Invited To 2021 Augusta National Women's Amateur
Six Trojans, led by seniors Allisen Corpuz, Amelia Garvey and Alyaa Abdulghany, were among the 85 players confirmed to play in the 2021 Augusta National Women's Amateur set for March 31-April 3 in Augusta, Ga. Joining USC's senior trio will be joined by junior Malia Nam, sophomore Alexa Melton and freshman Brianna Navarrosa. This will mark the second appearance for both Corpuz and Abdulghany. Corpuz and Abdulghany both played in the inaugural event (along with former Trojan Jennifer Chang) in 2019 while Corpuz, Garvey, Melton, Navarrosa and Nam were set to play in the 2020 event before its cancellation due to Covid. In 2019, Corpuz made the 36-hole cut at 3-over 147 (75-72) and ultimately tied for 17th at 3-over 219 (75-72-72).
Senior Gabriela Ruffels Turns Pro
Senior three-year starter Gabriela Ruffels, a 2019 All-American and 2019 U.S. Amateur Champion who posted a pair of 2020 LPGA top 15 finishes in majors en route to AmateurGolf.com's Player of the Year honor, announced on Feb. 10 she is forgoing her remaining eligibility to pursue a professional career. Ruffels, ranked No. 6 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings at the time of her announcement, turned pro following her success as an amateur in LPGA events last year, including a tie for 13th at the 2020 U.S. Open and a tie for 15th at the ANA Inspiration. She also played in the 2020 British Open and tied for fifth in the Symetra Tour Championship.
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.