No. 6 USC Women's Golf Ready For Return To NCAA Championships
No. 6 USC, a five-time winner and reigning Pac-12 champion led by a trio of All-Pac-12 first teamers, will pursue the program's fourth NCAA title beginning Friday at the 2021 NCAA Championships at Grayhawk G.C. in Scottsdale, Ariz., the tournament running through Wednesday (May 21-26).
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP INFO
For the sixth time, the NCAA women's golf team champion will be decided in a combination of stroke and match play. The 24 teams that advanced out of regionals will compete in 72 holes of stroke play, the top 15 advancing to a final round (May 24), where the individual winner will be determined as well. The top eight teams after 72 holes will be seeded into a match-play format. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be held on May 25 and the final will be May 26.
Action begins at 6:30 a.m. PT Friday through Sunday (May 21-23). Monday's final individual round starts at approximately 10 a.m. PT. Tuesday's match play quarterfinals begin at 6:20 a.m. PT with semifinals to follow at approximately 12:45 p.m.. Wednesday's final match starts at approximately 1:35 p.m. PT.
Golf Channel will televise three days of coverage, starting with the final individual round beginning at 2 p.m. PT. Golf Channel will televise quarterfinal play Tuesday starting at 9 a.m. PT and semifinals will air at 11:30 a.m. PT. Live coverage of the final round Wednesday will start at 2 p.m. PT.
USC will begin the first round Friday off of the 10th tee at 12:36 p.m. PT, the Trojans paired with Oklahoma State and Florida State. The Trojans will tee off with the same times in the second round on Saturday at 7:36 a.m. Teams will be re-seeded for the third and fourth rounds.
Results will be at Golfstat.com.
USC's starting five for the NCAA Championships will again feature senior All-Americans Allisen Corpuz, Amelia Garvey and Alyaa Abdulghany, junior All-American Malia Nam and freshman Brianna Navarrosa. It's the fourth time this group has played together following its debut in a third-place finish at the Arizona Wildcat Invitational, its win at Pac-12s and its play at Regionals.
TROJAN NCAA EXPERIENCE
In the 2019 NCAA Championships, Garvey led the Trojans in stroke play, tying for seventh in a rain-shortened 54-hole event at 2-over 221 (74-73-74), USC's best stroke-play finish since Annie Park (2013) and Doris Chen (2014) won back-to-back NCAA titles. Abdulghany and Nam tied for 29th but were responsible for USC's match-play wins in 3-2 quarterfinal loss to Arizona (both 3&2 wins). Garvey lost 2&1.
Corpuz and Abdulghany tied for 27th at the 2018 NCAA Championships at 5-over 293 while Garvey was 71st. Abdulghany won quarterfinal and semifinal matches while Garvey won her quarterfinal match before dropping her semifinal match. Corpuz was square through 20 holes in her quarterfinal match when USC cliched and fell in her semifinal match.
USC'S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS HISTORY
* USC has won three NCAA titles in 2003, 2008 and 2013. USC is one of only five schools with at least three NCAA team titles. Arizona State has seven, Duke has six while USC, San Jose State and UCLA have three. The Trojans finished 21 strokes better than Duke in 2013 (the biggest margin at the NCAA Championships since Arizona won by the same amount in 2000), six strokes ahead of UCLA in 2008 and were 15 strokes better than second-place Pepperdine in 2003.
* This is USC's 33rd overall NCAA Championship final appearance and 23rd in a row. The Trojans are also in their 29th straight NCAA appearance (reaching regionals and beyond).
* In addition to winning three titles, the Trojans have finished second five times (2014, 2012, 2010, 2006 and 1994) and also finished third in 2018, 2017 and 2015 (ties for third after semifinal losses in match play) as well as in 2009 and 1986, fourth in 2007, 2000 and 1987, fifth in 1993 and tied for fifth in 2011, 2016 and 2019 (the latter two in NCAA quarterfinal losses).
* USC has a national-best streak of 14 straight top 5 finishes. USC's combined 20 NCAA top 5 finishes are the most nationally and are two ahead Arizona State and three better than Duke and UCLA.
* USC has made it to the NCAA Championships match play bracket each of the first five years since it was instituted, one of just two teams to do so (Stanford is the other).
* USC is 3-5 in the NCAA match play format since it started. It beat Washington in the quarterfinals in 2015 before falling to eventual champion Stanford. In 2016, USC fell to Duke in the quarterfinals. In 2017, USC defeated Ohio State in the quarters before losing to Northwestern in the semifinals, 3-2. In 2018, USC beat Duke, 3-1-1, and then lost to Alabama by the same score. In 2019, Troy fell, 3-2, to defending champion Arizona.
* USC's eight NCAA match-play matches are tied for second most with Duke behind Stanford's 11 and its three wins are tied for the fourth most behind Stanford's seven.
* USC finished in the top 2 in the stroke play standings four years in a row (2012-2015) before a third in 2016. USC has finished in stroke play top 2 in five of the past 10 seasons, including the NCAA title in 2013 and a first in 2015 – the first season when the champion was decided in the match play format. It has also finished in the top 3 in stroke play in 10 of the past 12 seasons.
* The Trojans' second-place finishes in 2010 (Purdue, one stroke), 2012 (Alabama, one stroke) and 2014 (Duke, two strokes) were by a combined four strokes.
* USC has won five NCAA individual titles, including Jennifer Rosales in 1998, Mikaela Parmlid in 2003 (in a one-hole playoff), Dewi Claire Schreefel in 2006, Annie Park in 2013 and Doris Chen in 2014. The last school to post back-to-back individual titles was Duke in 2001-02. No school has won it three straight years and no player has won it twice.
* USC's five individual titles are second in the NCAA behind only Arizona State (six). In addition to its five individual champions, USC players have posted 10 other top five finishes. Jennifer Song (2009) was second, Paola Moreno (2007) tied for second, Irene Cho (2003), Candie Kung (2001) and Dana Arnold (1990) all tied for third, Jill McGill (1994) and Belen Mozo (2008) finished fourth, Rosales tied for fourth (1999) and Leila Chartrand (2000) and Song (2010) tied for fifth.
* The NCAA title in 2008 was USC's fourth consecutive tournament win at the time, a then-first in program history.
* USC had five All-Americans in 2008 for the first time in school history (Dewi Claire Schreefel, Paola Moreno, Belen Mozo, Stefanie Endstrasser, Lizette Salas) while all five of USC's finishers at the 2013 NCAAs finished in the top 17.
* Rosales was 9-under par after three rounds in 1998 while Park did the same in 2013, tying for the best score in NCAA Championship history through three rounds with two others.
* USC's best combined round at an NCAA Championships is 270 in the final round in 2014. That score – also a school record – shattered the recently set mark of 276, set in the second round in 2013.
* Troy's best individual round at an NCAA Championships is 65 by Sophia Popov, also carded in the 2014 NCAA Championships final round. The previous best was a 66, carded by Rosales during her title run in 1998.
* The Trojans finished at 19-under 1133 (284-276-285-288) in their 2013 win, shattering the previous NCAA Championship record for most strokes under par, which was previously four (UCLA, 2004).
* Four different Pac-12 teams have won the NCAA title in four of the last five seasons, including Arizona (2018), Arizona State (2017), Washington (2016) and Stanford (2015). Add USC in 2013 and UCLA in 2011, that's six different Pac-12-winning teams in the last 10 NCAA Championships. ASU also won it in 2009 and USC took it in 2008, giving the Pac-12 eight titles in the past 13 years.
The Big Picture
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.
USC's five wins this season mark the third time in the last four seasons with at least that many victories and it's the eighth time in nine years with three or more wins.
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 before a third at the Arizona Wildcat Invitational and a sixth at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic. USC closed the regular-season with win No. 4 at the Silverado Showdown, a five-stroke come-from-behind victory and then opened the post-season with a wire-to-wire Pac-12 title, winning by five strokes. Fifth-year senior Allisen Corpuz won at Lamkin and The Gold Rush and posted four other top fours.
* 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.
* USC finished sixth at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic at the University of Georgia G.C. in Athens, Ga., on March 21. Allisen Corpuz tied for third at 2-over 218 (70-74-74), giving her two firsts, two thirds and a fourth now in five starts. The Trojans finished sixth in the 18-team field at 35-over 899 (292-305-302). Senior Amelia Garvey tied for 22nd at 8-over 224 (72-75-77) while Alyaa Abdulghany tied for 26th at 9-over 225 (74-78-73), going 2-under over her final 16 holes after starting the day at 3-over on 1 and 2.
* USC posted a come-from-behind five-stroke victory at the Silverado Showdown in Napa on April 7 for the team's fourth win of the season at the Silverado Resort and Spa. The Trojans started the day three back of UCLA but combined for a 7-under 281 — their second-best round of the season — to erase the deficit and secure the win at 2-under 862 (291-290-281) in the regular season team finale. Allisen Corpuz finished second by a stroke at 7-under 209 (70-71-68), marking her sixth straight top 4 finish to start the season. Corpuz led five Trojan starters who finished in the top 20, the second time USC has managed the feat this season.
USC has defended its 2019 Pac-12 title with a brilliant 54-hole effort, completing a wire-to-wire performance - as it did two years ago - capturing the 2021 Pac-12 Women's Golf Championship by five strokes on at the Stanford G.C. The Trojans played a steady three days of golf to win at 3-under 849 (283-287-279) while withstanding a furious rally from host Stanford and pressure from other Pac-12 rivals. The win marked USC's seventh Pac-12 title and eighth in conference history. USC did it thanks to a group effort highlighted by senior Amelia Garvey and junior Malia Nam. Garvey, in her first Pac-12s since her freshman season, posted her collegiate-best finish, taking second at 5-under 208 (67-72-69), while Nam tied for third at 4-under 209 (68-72-69). Senior Alyaa Abdulghany was 12th at 4-over 217 (73-74-70), senior Allisen Corpuz tied for 15th at 7-over 220 (75-74-71) and freshman Brianna Navarrosa tied for 20th at 9-over 222 (80-69-73).
The Trojans advanced to the NCAA Championships finals for the 23rd straight time after a close call at the NCAA Stanford Regional, finishing sixth and claiming the final spot by one stroke when senior Amelia Garvey sank her 11-foot par putt on 18. The Trojans finished sixth at 8-over 860 (288-283-289), one stroke better than seventh-place Florida. Garvey tied for 12th at par 213 (70-70-73), USC's high finisher for the second straight event.
Trojans Ranked In Golfweek's Top 150
* Allisen Corpuz (11), Amelia Garvey (21), Alyaa Abdulghany (32), , Malia Nam (121), Brianna Navarrosa (124).
Trojans Ranked In the WAGR
* Allisen Corpuz (10), Amelia Garvey (31), Alyaa Abdulghany (45), Malia Nam (111), Alexa Melton (173), Brianna Navarrosa (177), Katherine Muzi (387).
Senior Trio Earn All-Pac-12 First Team Honors
* Corpuz, Abdulghany and Garvey were all named 2021 Pac-12 All-Conference first team selections. USC's three selections were most in the league. It is Garvey's second first team honor following her nod in 2019. Corpuz and Abdulghany were both honorable mention in 2018 and 2019. No honors were announced in 2020 due to the Covid-shortened season. It is the sixth time since 2011 USC has boasted three or more first-team selections.
Head Coach Justin Silverstein Named WGCA Coach of the Year Finalist
USC third-year head coach Justin Silverstein, who has guided the Trojans to five wins in 2021 including his second Pac-12 title in addition to this week's trip to the NCAA Championships finals, has been named to the watch list for the 2020-21 Division I Jackie Steinmann WGCA National Coach of the Year Presented by Golf Pride. The award will be announced after medal play at the upcoming NCAA Championship. The recipient is selected by a prestigious collection of women's collegiate golf coaches who follow criteria that has been established to identify the top head coach for the past year.
Allisen Corpuz, a 2021 ANNIKA Award finalist, leads USC in stroke average (71.56), rounds in the 60s (six, a career best), rounds of par or better (15) and rounds under par (14).
* She has 16 career rounds in the 60s, fourth most in program history, while her current season stroke average would be fourth in USC's all-time season list.
* Her 14 rounds under par are USC's most since Annie Park had 19 and Kyung Kim had 18 in 2014. Her career average of 72.67 is tied for eighth on USC's career list.
* She reached No. 1 in the Golfweek rankings in mid-April, the latest a USC golfer was ranked No. 1 since Annie Park finished the 2013 season No. 1.
* Corpuz's six 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. The streak ended with a tie for 15th at the Pac-12 Championships.
* 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, a fourth at the Wildcat, a tie for third at Liz Murphey and a second at Silverado gives her 10 top 9 finishes in her last 11 events, 13 top 25s in a row and give her 19 top 30s in her last 21 starts. She has been USC's highest finisher in six of seven events this season.
* 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 is among 10 finalists for the 2021 ANNIKA Award and was named the Pac-12's February Golfer of the Month.
* Corpuz tied for 13th at the 2021 Augusta National Women's Amateur, making the cut for the second time, finishing at 6-over.
* She was one of two speakers at USC's 2021 Athletic Department graduation.
Alyaa Abdulghany is third on the team in stroke average, her 72.50 tied with her 2019 season for 25th on USC's all-time list. Her 72.88 career stroke average is 12th best at USC.
* She has four top 10s and six top 13s in seven starts. She has posted six top 10s in her last eight events. She also has eight top 13 finishes in her last nine starts, and 20 straight top 29 finishes, and 23 out of 24 in the top 29.
* Abdulghany has 10 rounds of par or better, including six 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.
* She competed at the 2021 Augusta National Women's Amateur, the second time she's played the event.
Amelia Garvey is second on the team in stroke average (72.29) and has four top 10s in six starts, six top 16s and hasn't finished outside the top 22, highlighted by a career-best second at the 2021 Pac-12 Championships at 5-under 208 (67-72-69).
* She also tied for fourth at the Sun Devil Winter Classic at 2-under, the same total she had in her 10th at the Arizona Wildcat Invitational.
* She has seven top 10s in her last nine starts. She has 10 rounds of par or better, including eight under par.
* Garvey, 15th in career stroke average at USC (73.02) and tied for ninth in career rounds in the 60s (11), competed at the 2021 Augusta National Women's Amateur.
Malia Nam made her season debut at The Gold Rush and finished third at par 216 (71-74-74). and then matched it with a third at the Pac-12 Championships at 4-under 209 (68-72-79).
* In her third event, she tied for 13th at the Silverado Showdown, including a final-round 67. She also tied for 18th at the NCAA Stanford Regional, going 1-under over the final two rounds.
She competed at the 2021 Augusta National Women's Amateur.
Nam is fourth on the team in stroke average (73.60). She has 11 career rounds in the 60s, including three this season, tied for ninth on USC's career chart
She has five career top 3 finishes and nine career top 10s.
Brianna Navarrosa, who opened her Trojan career with a pair of top 11 finishes, recently finished a career-best second at the Fresno State Classic at 10-under 206 (68-70-68) and now has four top 20s this season.
* She tied for 20th at the Pac-12 Championships, bouncing back from an opening 80 with a 69 and a 73.
* She is second on the team with four rounds in the 60s and her stroke average of 73.71 is fourth-best on the team.
* Navarrosa, who played in the 2021 Augusta National Women's Amateur, has eight rounds of par or better in 21 outings with seven under par. She has started in three of USC's wins this year.
Katherine Muzi's start in the season opener was her first and her seventh-place finish was a career best. She has started three times this year and tied for 28th at The Gold Rush and was 31st at the Sun Devil Winter Classic.
* She played in the recent USGA Four-ball, but had to compete solo when her collegiate partner had to drop out to compete in her conference championships.
Alexa Melton made her Trojan debut at the Sun Devil Winter Classic, playing individually, and took ninth 1-over 217 with an opening round 69. She tied for 20th at the Silverado Showdown.
* Melton joined Allisen Corpuz in making the cut at the 2021 Augusta National Women's Amateur and tied for 28th.
* USC's now snapped five-tournament win streak (last two wins of 2020, first three of 2021) was the 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 Play In 2021 Augusta National Women's Amateur
Six Trojans, including seniors Allisen Corpuz, Amelia Garvey and Alyaa Abdulghany, junior Malia Nam, sophomore Alexa Melton and freshman Brianna Navarrosa, played in the 2021 Augusta National (March 31-April 3). 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. Corpuz tied for 13th at the 2021 Augusta National Women's Amateur, making the cut for the second time, finishing at 6-over, while Melton also made the cut, tying for 28th.
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 welcomed 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.