A whopping seven USC players received an invitation to compete in the second edition of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. With Gabriela Ruffels turning professional, however, six will compete this week, the most from any school in the country. Golfweek caught up with head coach Justin Silverstein to get the run-down on each Trojan in the field.
The ANWA begins March 31 at Champions Retreat. After 36 holes, the top 30 will advance to the final round at Augusta National on Saturday, April 3. Both Allisen Corpuz and Alyaa Abdulghany competed in the ANWA in 2019. Corpuz tied for 17th and Abdulghany missed the cut.
Newport Beach, California
WAGR: 34 Golfweek College Ranking: 27 Organized. Prepared. Tidy. Abdulghany stays ready for the big moments because she’s always doing the work. Silverstein says she’s elite in all the areas of the game that require work: knowing her yardages, pitching, chipping, bunkering, speed on the greens and maintaining her putting stroke. Now more independent than ever with her game, Abdulghany’s next level of growth is to learn how to self-correct quicker. Coach Silverstein says: “My admiration for her game and how she goes about her business, I’ve never felt this way about anyone’s game. It’s ridiculous the work she’s put in.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9sghhiiG7E
WAGR: 11 Golfweek College Ranking: 3 Nicknamed “The Queen” by her teammates, Silverstein says Corpuz is statistically the best iron player he’s ever seen at USC. While her speed on the greens has always been great, Corpuz learned AimPoint and improved six to seven shots per tournament on the greens. Silverstein now calls Corpuz an elite-level green reader who does her best work on extremely fast surfaces. Coach says: “She’s made a putting turnaround like we’ve never seen.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88WIuVy1TaY
Christchurch, New Zealand
WAGR: 28 Golfweek College Ranking: 40 Bomber off the tee who’s cruising at a 106 mph swing speed but can get up to 111 mph. Has greatly improved her iron play during her time in college and switched from loving slow greens to loving fast greens. Best lag putter on the team from 40-feet plus. Game translates well to both Champions Retreat and Augusta National. Coach says: “Her understanding of ball flight, path, kind of 3-D stuff is really top-end level right now, so she can make quicker adjustments off the golf course.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kStqqHaYPiY
WAGR: 186 Golfweek College Ranking: N/R Pepperdine transfer has only played two events for the Trojans and will have USC assistant coach Katie Mitchell on the bag. Strong driver of the golf ball who hits it high and is great with her wedges. In the process of learning how to negotiate fast greens. Mitchell’s main focus this week is to help her make aggressive swings to smart targets. Coach says: “She could just pick up any golf club and hit it really solid and really far and really straight. We’re excited to see where she’ll get. When I recruited her, I told her I expect her to be one of the best players in the world when she leaves this place. That’s how much raw skill she has.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wf_BlJgJAKY
WAGR: 139 Golfweek College Ranking: NR Exceptional ball-striker. The faster and more dicey the greens get, the better she putts. A fighter who proved her mettle at The Blessings in 2019 when as a freshman she took down highly-ranked Yu-Sang Hou in the quarterfinals. In the bigger moments, Nam has a way of figuring things out. Coach Silverstein says: “She’s just a generational talented ball-striker. Like whatever the magic is, she’s just got it.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTlqIdq9SrM
WAGR: 192 Golfweek College Ranking: 192 Not as speedy or long as her teammates but a skilled ball-striker. Very comfortable hitting cool-looking high-spinning flop shots around firm greens with big slopes. Silverstein calls her swing refreshing in that it’s not over-taught. Coach Silverstein says: “If you watch her set up, her hands are very low, the toe is way up in the air, her hands are back behind the ball. Her instructor is Adam Porzak, who is going to caddie for her at Augusta, and I’ll give Adam credit, we played junior golf together growing up, so many instructors would’ve jumped in and changed that because it didn’t look natural. Well if you watch her ball for five minutes it would make no sense to change it. She flushes it, and it generally curves no more than a yard or two either direction.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnI2zKKNsTw