Hawaii's next Olympian: junior golfer Allisen Corpuz - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii's next Olympian: junior golfer Allisen Corpuz

Allisen Corpuz Allisen Corpuz
David Ishii David Ishii

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

PEARL COUNTRY CLUB (HawaiiNewsNow) - With golf recently being added to the Olympic Summer Games in 2016, Hawaii News Now caught up with a junior golfer who might be able to call herself an Olympian someday.

Last year, the Punahou School sixth grader became the youngest winner of the Hawaii State Women's Match Play Championship.

She's 5'5" tall and can smoke the ball with her driver.

"Maybe 230 (yards) on a good drive," Allisen Corpuz, junior golfer, said.

It's easy to forget that she's a sixth grader.

"Are people amazed by that?" this reporter asked. "You're only 11 years old."

"Sometimes," she replied while smiling.

Meet Allisen Corpuz, a shy, soft-spoken girl who picked up a golf club as a pre-schooler because she wanted to follow in her big brother's footsteps.

"When I was four, I asked my dad because I saw my brother playing and then he let me play," Corpuz said.

"What happened when you first started hitting the ball? Did you immediately fall in love with the sport?" this reporter asked.

"Yeah, but some of it was kind of frustrating," she replied.

Frustrating, but she kept at it. Allisen, who's also an avid reader, is described as self-motivated.

"She likes to practice," David Ishii, Allisen's coach, said. "If you talk to her and you ask her how far you hit this club, how far do you hit, she knows exactly what club and how far it goes. It's really simple, but she knows."

Allisen began winning in her age group at Hawaii junior golf tournaments, becoming player-of-the-year and collecting countless medals. She then started drawing attention on a bigger stage, capturing the Optimist International trophy in Florida at age 10 and the US Kids World Championship trophy in North Carolina last summer.

"I've played pretty well," Corpuz said. "There's a few rounds that I didn't do that great, but it was pretty fun and I got a lot of experience out of it."

Ishii began coaching her in November.

"She's very simple, very calm," he said.

Last Tuesday, she competed against more than 100 golfers, primarily men, and placed 17th to qualify for this weekend's Pearl Open.

"At 11, that's pretty amazing because I'm sure she had to hit mostly woods to most of the holes," Ishii said. "She still shot just one-over."

At 11, she's the youngest ever to qualify for the Pearl Open. Michelle Wie did it when she was 12.

"I think she has a real good attitude about the game," Ishii said. "Of course, she's still young, 11 going on 12, but if she can hold that attitude all the way through, that will be great."

Her mother says Allisen doesn't talk about things like turning pro or Olympic dreams. Her goals -- get into Stanford University and keep playing good golf.

"It's just fun and then I meet a lot of nice people," Corpuz said.

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