Winning the U.S. Women’s Open

Not many U.S. Women’s Open golf winners have a master’s degree in global supply-chain management. Meet Allisen Corpuz, whom Korn Ferry sponsors, and who won last week at Pebble Beach.

Not unlike most overnight successes, Allisen Corpuz’s rise to the top was years in the making. Long before Corpuz took home last week’s U.S. Women’s Open title, the Hawaii native was, at just 10 years old, the centerpiece of a New York Times profile of golf’s rising stars. The victory by Corpuz, who’s now 25, marked not only her first LPGA tournament win as a professional, but also the first by an American since 2016.

Despite being the youngest-ever player—male or female—to qualify for a USGA championship, Corpuz didn’t officially turn pro until 2021, opting instead to go the University of Southern California, where she excelled both on the course and in the classroom. She earned not only Academic All-American honors, but also, interestingly enough, a master’s in global supply-chain management.

Her background has given her a keen awareness of lessons that matter both to golfers and those in the business world. A few days after her win, Corpuz spoke to Korn Ferry about success at an early age, resilience through adversity, and how she balances risks with rewards on the course.

What have you learned from your experience as a young female golfer that could be applied to the business world? What advice would you give to young female executives?

I’ve learned to advocate for myself and ask for help when I need it. I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable reaching out to people and have realized that most people want you to succeed. No one knows it all, so it’s always okay to ask for some support. My advice would be to trust in yourself and be open to change.

How much is a win like this a team effort? We know how much your family has mattered; can you also talk about your first coach, your caddie, and any other supporters or mentors?

My parents have sacrificed so much for me to get to where I am, and it continues to be a huge team effort on tour. My mom travels with me each week, and I have a team behind me at home. I grew up taking lessons from David Ishii at Pearl Country Club. I work with Craig Chapman now for my game. I also work with Bill Nelson for the mental side of the game and work with Rian Chab from Urban Golf Performance for sports recovery.

I’m still in touch with a few teammates and my past coaches at USC. I reach out to them every so often with questions, and they’ve been important mentors for me.

At age 10, you were the youngest player ever to qualify for a USGA event, and now, at 25, you’re the winner of a championship. What pluses and challenges do you see from early success?

It’s always nice to have early successes because it helps to build confidence. One challenge that I faced was setting new goals and figuring out what comes next. It’s easy to put a lot of pressure on yourself to keep succeeding and get ahead of yourself.

This was your 19th time playing in a USGA Championship and your first major LPGA tournament win. Can you speak about the importance of resilience to success?

There’s an anecdote from Alexi Pappas that I think about often when I practice. She told a story about the rule of thirds, and how you should have roughly one-third great, average, and bad days of practice. Having too many good days means you’re not working hard enough, and having too many bad days may mean you’re overtraining. Getting in repetitions has always been important to me, but whenever I get discouraged at practice or am struggling with something, I remind myself that part of getting better lies within the struggle. Success doesn’t come without a lot of hard work.

Educational decisions often go hand in hand with leadership. You decided to stay in school and earn a master’s in global supply-chain management instead of turning pro early. Why was that important to you, and what do you plan to do with your degree?

When I first started playing golf, my original goal was always to play college golf. I loved being at USC and COVID gave me the opportunity to stay a little longer for a graduate degree. I don’t have any plans with it yet, but being at USC for an extra year gave me some extra time to prepare for the tour.

In winning the U.S. Open, you were the only golfer in the field to shoot under par in all four rounds. Commentators spoke about how cool and calm you were and how you didn't take too many risks. What can you tell corporate leaders about the challenge of maintaining the right demeanor and avoiding risk?

There’s definitely a balance between avoiding unnecessary risks and playing too conservatively. When it comes to golf, I tend to trust my instincts and see how I feel about a shot. If I think I can hit a shot 8 out of 10 times, I go for it. If not, I’ll play the safer shot.