By Alex Podlogar
No, Allisen Corpuz didn’t fire her caddie. And no, she doesn’t hate her driver.
She just loves Pinehurst.
And it shows.
The runner-up in this championship a year ago, the Southern Cal star keeps her hopes of finally claiming the Women’s North & South Amateur Championship alive after comfortably winning both of her matches on Friday to advance to the semifinals of the historic tournament.
She joins Duke’s Gina Kim, Furman’s Anna Morgan and Auburn’s Megan Schofill in the penultimate matches, which will be played on famed Pinehurst No. 2 early Saturday morning. The championship match for the 119th playing of the Women’s North & South will begin on No. 2 at 12:45 p.m. Saturday. Spectators are welcome.
It will be a familiar setting for Corpuz, who has come close to claiming the bigger of the two Putter Boy trophies – the championship’s runner-up gets a slightly smaller version of the Putter Boy – in each of the last three years. Corpuz was the medalist in 2019 and advanced to the quarterfinals, and then last year rolled into the finals before falling in 19 holes to Wake Forest’s Rachel Kuehn.
Those runs included her father, Marcos, bearing the family name on the caddie bib. This year, though, Corpuz has a local caddie. But there was no animosity in the change.
“I love having him on the bag, but part of my preparation for Q School is to become familiar working with other people,” Corpuz said, laughing. “Don’t worry, it’s nothing bad.”
There’s nothing bad about her game, either, which just seems to fit Pinehurst. Calm, steady and stoic, Corpuz marches down No. 2’s fairways with a sturdy stride. She outlasted 2020 North & South medalist Ivy Shepherd 2&1 in the Round of 16, and by the fifth hole was already 3-up on Mississippi State’s Blair Stockett in the afternoon. That match ended on 14 with a 6&4 victory.
“I just love it here, and something about Pinehurst No. 2 feels right to me,” Corpuz said. “You have to stay patient and just understand that it’s going to be a tough battle. Even if you get down early, you can come back on No. 2 if you just try to hang in there. That’s the thing about No. 2 – it’s hard every day and for everyone.”
Kim would agree.
The Duke star needed to go 19 holes in each of her matches on Friday, making a birdie on 18 just to extend her Round of 16 match against Addie Baggarly. Kim lost the 17th hole with a 1-up lead in her quarterfinal match against Virginia Tech’s Jessica Spicer, but made a clutch 4-footer for par on the 19th to stay alive.
“Well, it’s been stressful all day, I’m not going to lie,” quipped Kim, who understands pressure, having played in three of the last four U.S. Women’s Opens. “I kept giving myself heart attacks out there.”
She’ll now face Corpuz in a monster of a semifinal match with a berth into the championship on the line. For Kim, finding a way to win two more times would cap a five-year journey in the Women’s North & South.
“This place is really special, and I have a lot of memories here, ever since I was a little kid,” Kim said. “Winning at Pinehurst would be a dream come true.”
But two other North & South veterans also stand in the way and have their own intentions of making a different dream come true.
Schofill has seen more of No. 2 than any other player this week. A quarterfinalist a year ago, each of Schofill’s three matches have extended to extra holes, all of them ending on the first, and 19th, hole. In the Round of 16, she beat Casey Weidenfield, then, as the thunder rolled above her, poured in a long birdie attempt on the first green to finish a rally and close out Northwestern’s Kelly Sim.
“What’s going through my mind? That I need to play better during the regular holes,” Schofill joked. “This is my third time playing extra holes – wait a minute – no, it’s my fourth. I was in the playoff just to make match play.”
Schofill will have her hands full again Saturday morning against Furman’s Morgan, who took down two heavyweights on Friday. She first dispatched 2020 Girls’ North & South Junior Champion Amanda Sambach 2&1 and then knocked off Oklahoma State’s Rina Tatematsu rather easily, 4&3, in the quarterfinals.
Morgan is no stranger to the North & South, either, making her fourth appearance. And her experience certainly came in handy in her blistering afternoon performance.
“I wouldn’t exactly say I had my ‘A’ game this morning,” she said. “But I found a swing thought on the range, and suddenly, I wasn’t really missing it much anymore.”
The Spartanburg, S.C., native had little trouble with the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, building a 4-up lead through nine holes.
So, then, that swing thought?
“Slow and smooth,” Morgan said. “That’s it. I was kind of getting excited being in the match this morning, and I just got quick. And then I seemed to get quicker and I got stuck. So I just swung really easy on the range, wanting to hit free and easy slices and see the ball go right. It all just clicked from there.”
There was another thing.
“Now I’m just really happy to be this far – hanging out and having fun with my caddie.”
Something about a good caddie…
119th Women’s North & South Amateur
July 13-17, 2021
Pinehurst No. 2
Round of 32 Match Play
July 15, 2021
No. 32 Gina Kim, 7 d. No. 1 Abbey Daniel, 2&1
No. 17 Addison Baggarly d. No. 16 Grace Curran, 4&3
No. 8 Ashley Lau d. No. 25 Gurleen Kaur, 4&3
No. 9 Jessica Spicer d. No. 24 Teresa Toscano Borrero, 4&3
No. 29 Blair Stockett d. No. 4 Hsin-Yu Lu, 4&3
No. 20 Mychael O’Berry d. No. 13 Savannah Grewal, 3&2
No. 28 Ivy Shepherd d. No. 5 Aneka Seumanutafa, 7&6
No. 21 Allisen Corpuz d. No. 12 Ashley Gilliam, 5&4
No. 31 Amanda Sambach d. No. 2 Brooke Rivers, 4&3
No. 15 Anna Morgan d. No. 18 Maria Bohorquez, 4&2
No. 26 Rina Tatematsu d. No. 7 Catherine Park, 1up
No. 10 Ho Yu An d. No. 23 Maddison Hinson-Tolchard, 3&2
No. 30 Megan Schofill d. No. 3 Sophie Zhang-Murphy, 19 Holes
No. 19 Casey Weidenfield d. No. 14 Jenny Bae, 2&1
No. 27 Kelly Sim d. No. 6 Isabella Fierro, 4&2
No. 22 Brigitte Thibault d. No. 11 Katherine Muzi, 2&1
Round of 16
July 16, 2021
No. 32 Gina Kim d. No. 17 Addison Baggarly, 19 Holes
No. 9 Jessica Spicer d. No. 8 Ashley Lau, 6&5
No. 29 Blair Stockett d. No. 20 Mychael O’Berry, 2&1
No. 21 Allisen Corpuz d. No. 28 Ivy Shepherd, 2&1
No. 15 Anna Morgan d. No. 31 Amanda Sambach, 2&1
No. 26 Rina Tatematsu d. No. 10 Ho Yu An, 2&1
No. 30 Megan Schofill d. No. 19 Casey Weidenfield, 19 Holes
No. 27 Kelly Sim d. No. 22 Brigitte Thibault, 1up
July 16, 2021
No. 32 Gina Kim d. No. 9 Jessica Spicer, 19 Holes
No. 21 Allisen Corpuz d. No. 29 Blair Stockett, 6&4
No. 15 Anna Morgan d. No. 26 Rina Tatematsu, 4&3
No. 30 Megan Schofill d. No. 27 Kelly Sim, 19 Holes
July 17, 2021
No. 32 Gina Kim vs. No. 21 Allisen Corpuz, 7 a.m.
No. 15 Anna Morgan vs. No. 30 Megan Schofill, 7:10 a.m.
July 17, 2021
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