Women’s golf brings home largest margin of victory since 2015

The Trojans dominated the Rebel Beach Showdown en route to their first victory of the season.

USC women’s golf claimed its first win of the season at the Rebel Beach Showdown at the Spanish Trail CC in Las Vegas Tuesday. The Trojans took the lead instantly and held on throughout the match, giving way for players to claim multiple new records.

Throughout two days of play, USC continued a streak of upward progress. Having placed third at the Stanford Intercollegiate Invitational and second at the Northrop Grumman Invitational, it was high time for a first, and fans were not left wanting more.

The Trojans finished the Showdown at 25-under par (839), placing themselves in the school’s record books as the fourth-best score under par in a 54-hole event. This gave way to another record: with Fresno State coming in second at three-under par (861), USC had its largest margin of victory (22 strokes) since the 2015 ANNIKA Invitational, where it won with a margin of 36 strokes.

The second round of the Showdown saw USC playing its best this season, resulting in the sixth-best round in USC history.

USC and Fresno State were the only two schools to place under par. Outside of the top two schools, the Rebel Beach Showdown saw poor scores overall. The average score was 21.45-over par (885.54). Coming in at 19-over par (883), New Mexico took third, creating an even wider gap between scores. While last year’s winner, Arizona, did not compete this year, 2018’s victor, UNLV, placed ninth overall (898).

In a rare turn of events, USC managed to take four of the top five individual positions, with the remaining two members placing in the top 20.

After placing first at the Windy City Collegiate in 2019, junior Gabriela Ruffels posted her second first at the Rebel Beach Showdown with an admirable nine-under par (207). Ruffels led from the start, scoring the lowest first round score (67). With an amateur ranking of No. 14, Ruffels displayed her talents with ten birdies in the first two rounds, and consistent pars all around.

Right behind Ruffels was senior Allisen Corpuz. Corpuz presented her second-best score and highest finish of the season, shooting five-under (211). After a good first round, Corpuz went on to have a great second and third round. While first and second went to USC, Fresno State junior Brigitte Thibault placed third with a six-under par (210). This was both Thibault’s and Fresno State’s first match of the season.

USC juniors Aliyaa Abdulghany and Amelia Garvey took the remaining positions in the top five. Abdulghany placed fourth with a seven-under par (211). Abdulghany’s score is a career best, while her position is a season best. With five bogeys on her second round, Abdulghany was the lowest scorer overall for that round.

Garvey placed fifth with a four-under par (212). This is the lowest she has scored since the Stanford Intercollegiate in 2018, where she posted three-under par (210).

Sophomore Malia Nam finished 16th with a four-over par (220). Though Nam posted birdies and bogeys, her upward trend was cut short by a double-bogey in the first round and a triple-bogey in the third round.

Playing individually, senior Aiko Leong posted five-over par (221). Leong played consistently, posting pars and single-bogeys for the most part.

“It was a great team effort and a strong follow-up to our second-place finish last week at Northrop,” USC Head Coach Justin Silverstein said. “Thrilled to see Gabriela get her first win this season and Allisen Corpuz battled her to the final hole. Having Alyaa Abdulghany and Amelia Garvey also finish in the top 5 was a testament to the excellent all-around work the team put in.”

USC will return to the links on Feb. 24 at the Bruin Wave Invitational in San Luis Obispo.