Neshanic Station, N.J. -- Game face on, she couldn’t hide her youth and innocence. The player ran over to the scoreboard to peer at the name of her next opponent, Kim Kaufman of Clark, S.D.
Allisen Corpuz gave it one look, shrugged and walked away.
That was the attitude that got Corpuz, 14, of Honolulu, Hawaii, to the round of 32 at the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship. She was the youngest player still in the field. She also holds the record for being the youngest competitor ever to compete in the WAPL (10-years-old in 2008).
“Honestly I wasn’t even thinking about that [being the youngest],” she said playing with her hair with her fingers. “I was just trying to see how far I could advance in the matches. This was my first time playing after the first round, so I was pretty happy about that.”
“I was so nervous,” Corpuz said about being the youngest player ever to play in the WAPL. “It wasn’t just about my age. It was because it was my first USGA event, too. I think I was just really impressed with everyone and everything at the tournament.”
In Thursday’s round of 64, Corpuz took on Kelsey Vines,21, of San Antonio, Texas, and won, 2-up. She hit 15 out of 18 greens. No. 13 was the turning point in the match. Then, a par on No. 18 sealed the deal. That moved Corpuz into the round of 32, where she would take on Chieh Peng,18, of Chinese Taipei.
Unlike Wednesday’s slow start, Corpuz was quick to make her start on No. 4 with a birdie. Peng tried to come back, and got close once, but Allisen wasn’t going to let this match slip away.
“My dad told me on 11, when I lost that hole, to just play the match like it was all-square,” said Corpuz.
She did just that. After the bogey on 11, she finished the last six holes in 1-under-par.
“I’ve been playing pretty good,” she said. “I think I’m finally getting stronger and I’ve been hitting the ball almost 20-yards longer.”
In the round of 32, Corpuz lost to Kaufman 2 and 1. At one point she had the lead, but then she looked too far ahead. Kaufman came back, and took the match.
“On No. 14 I pushed my drive into the bunker,” Corpuz said. “Then I went into the fescue, and thought I could get out. I didn’t and finally had to take an unplayable. Other than that, I could have won.”
This week, Corpuz's dad, Marco, was on the bag.
“He really was only helping me with my club selection. Otherwise, he’s just here for, what’s the word… moral support,” said Corpuz with an impish grin.
“I was definitely pleased with my results this week. Kim was just the better player today,” she said.
A few mistakes ended Allisen’s run to the quarterfinals.
She’s only 14 and still has braces. But time will do away with the mistakes, and the braces.
Cassandra Stein is a communications intern for the USGA. Email her at email@example.com.