Notre Dame, Ind. - Allisen Corpuz isn’t your typical 12-year-old.
The Honolulu resident says she doesn’t really like to swim and could care less about having an Xbox 360 console. Her favorite destination on road trips isn’t Water Country USA, but Barnes & Noble. Ask her about her favorite book and her eyes immediately widen.
Oooooh, that’s a tough one,” she smiles. “Probably Maximum Ride.”
Corpuz’s passion for the game has been in overdrive since age 3 when she first watched her brother, George, then 5, hit balls on a practice range.
“Anything her brother did, she wanted to do,” said Corpuz’s father, Marcos, smiling.
Marcos and his wife, May, wanted to keep their daughter “out of the game until later, but we let her hit balls since she seemed interested.”
The elder Corpuzs’ expected the attention span of a 3-year-old to take hold – fast – but Allisen had other ideas as she began to make contact and dribbled shots 10 and 15 feet down the range.
“The thing that surprised us is that she kept it up for three buckets,” Marcos said. “She loves golf.”
That’s for sure. Since, not even a novel ripe with a suspenseful ending has been able to keep Allisen away from the course. At this week’s WAPL, the seventh grader at Punahou School was the second youngest player in the field and after shooting 73-74 in stroke-play qualifying was the youngest player to make match play.
Even after earning a spot in the WAPL two years ago and surpassing Michelle Wie as the event's youngest-ever qualifier, Marcos admits this week has “exceeded all expectations.”
Allisen’s game is going through a considerable growth spurt this year; she won the American Junior Golf Association event at Quad Cities in early June and qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Kernwood Country Club (Mass.). Two years ago, she played in the girls division of the Hawaii State Open and finished fourth.
For a player on a fast track to success, Marcos admits that the only anomaly to her game is that she tends to be a slow starter and it proved costly in her first round match against Canada’s Anna Kim. Corpez was 4-down through seven holes, closed the margin to two on the second nine before running out of holes and falling 2 and 1.
“I wish some more putts would’ve dropped,” Corpez said in reviewing the match. “My putting is not really, really, really good, but not that bad either. I messed up, but I found my rhythm and kept it up. I played pretty well. ”
Marcos caddies for his daughter on a regular basis and her considerable skill has defined his job description: Keep up and pipe down.
“She says, ‘Dad, you have to caddie for me.’ I’m proud of it, but I’m more of a spectator,” he laughs. “She’s very comfortable with me. I roll the cart for her, clean clubs, clean balls and hand her the clubs. She does everything else.”
Mind you, Marcos has a so much bigger role than being tasked with watching in admiration. Beyond being a loyal looper, he cooks up a great dish that makes the return home after three weeks on the road well worth the long trip as far as Allisen is concerned.
“I think she misses her Korean kimchi rice; I wasn’t able to make that on this trip,” Marcos says.
Allisen says her goal for the rest of the summer is to win another tournament or two. Ultimately, she aspires to attend Stanford (“My dad says it is a very good school,” she quips.) and then play on the LPGA Tour.
When it comes to her thinking about the future, the mention of the subject is one area where Marcos says, a 12-year-old has to listen to dad.
“As parents we’re not looking that far ahead,” Marcos said. “We want her to have a lot of choices.”
Andrew Blair is the communications director for the Virginia State Golf Association. He is contributing articles at this week's WAPL for the USGA.