Kuehn Beats USC’s Corpuz in North-South Final

Allisen Corpuz was trying to match USC teammate Gabriela Ruffels by winning the 118th Women’s North and South Amateur Championship, and nearly pulled it off on an 11-hour final day at famed Pinehurst No. 2 in Pinehurst, N.C.

However, Rachel Kuehn (pictured, left) of Asheville, N.C., made a par on the 21st hole in the final, which was delayed at one stage for 80 minutes because of rain, to beat Corpuz (right) and claim the title Ruffels won last year.

Other past winners include Babe Zaharias, Louise Suggs, Peggy Kirk Bell, Glenna Collett, Hollis Stacy, Brandie Burton, Brittany Lang, Morgan Pressel, Danielle Kang, Alison Lee, Carol Semple Thompson, Alice Dye, Jane Bastanchury Booth, Donna Andrews, Emilee Klein, Beth Bauer, Jenny Suh and Yani Tseng.

“The Pinehurst heat and more than 36 holes definitely makes it a game of endurance, especially when you’re playing two matches in a day,” said Kuehn, who was an All-America last season as a freshman at Wake Forest after winning the Annika Invitational in her first college start.

“I actually wasn’t hitting the ball great going into the rain delay, so it gave me a chance to regroup and it kind of turned an 18-hole final match into a six-hole final match.”

Both players also had to go extra holes in the semifinals.

Corpuz sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the 21st hole to defeat stroke-play medalist Ivy Shepard of Peachtree City, Ga., and Clemson, while Kuehn got past Haylin Harris of Carmel, Ind., and Michigan State with a par on the 20th hole.

“It was a little annoying to take a break, but it happens and you have to accept it and keep playing,” said Corpuz, an All-American at USC from Hawaii who was stroke-play medalist in the 2019 North-South Amateur and reached the quarterfinals each of the last two years.

Kuehn and Corpuz both earned spots in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship on 6-9 at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md.

Corpuz, whose senior season was cut short by the Coronavirus pandemic, was planning to return to USC for the coming school year to finish her Masters degree in global supply chain management.

Now she will get a chance to play one more season because the NCAA has granted players an extra year of eligibility because of Covid-19.

“I might as well stay the full year and try to get a national title,” said Corpuz, who won the 2016 Hawaii State High School Championship and the 2014 Hawaii State Open.

USC last won the NCAA title in 2013.

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