EVIAN, France (AFP) — What a difference a year makes.
Twelve months ago, Allisen Corpuz was a newcomer to the professional ranks and missed the cut at the Evian Championship.
Now the American enters the fourth major of the women’s season as the reigning US Women’s Open Champion and relishing the prospect of a game with former US President, Barack Obama.
Corpuz became the newest women’s major title-holder at Pebble Beach earlier this month and her first professional victory has been a life-changing experience.
“I’ve had time off since winning and it’s been great to just let it all sink in,” said the 25-year-old, who tuned pro in 2021.
“There have already been a lot of changes, and I’m just taking it day by day. But they’re good changes.”
Corpuz, now ranked six in the world, comes from Hawaii and went to the same school as Obama and Michelle Wie, who finished second at Evian as a 14-year-old amateur in 2005.
“I’ve had congratulations from both,” she said.
“Barack says he is looking forward to having a round with me.”
American Nelly Korda, the world No.2, is aiming to continue her bounce back from injury.
Last year, she suffered from a blood clot in her arm and this season has been blighted by back trouble.
But she won the individual title at the Team Series event in London this month and arrived in France after a trip to see her Czech grandparents in Prague.
“We go every year around this time and it’s great fun,” she said.
“It was a good confidence boost to get the win in London and I’m looking forward to Evian. It’s such a lovely place.”
The new sensation in the women’s game is 20-year-old American, Rose Zhang. She racked up a record 141 weeks as the world no.1 amateur and made more history by winning on her LPGA professional debut at the Mizuho Americas Open. She turned pro on 26 May and won on 4 June.
“The first time I played golf outside the US was as a 14-year-old at the Evian Junior Cup so this place has special memories,” she said.
“It has been an incredible start to my professional career. I certainly couldn’t have imagined it. Everything has been happening so quickly.”
“Tour life is different and quite challenging, but everyone has given me good advice.”
Already ranked 35 in the World, Zhang is in the reckoning for a Solheim Cup debut in Spain in September.
“That would be a dream,” agreed the youngster.
“I played for the US in two Junior Solheim teams and loved every minute.”
Canadian Brooke Henderson defends the Evian title, while World No.1 Ko Jin-young is aiming to get her major career back on track after a shock missed cut at the US Women’s Open.