Although she only recently began her golf career at California Lutheran University, first-year Claire Cornejo has become one of the team’s best players.
“So far she’s our number one player, without a doubt, and as a freshman that’s pretty awesome,” Head Coach of Cal Lutheran’s men’s and women’s golf teams Jeff Lindgren said.“In the spring, we’ve played two tournaments so far and she’s been a low scorer both times in the Point Loma tournament and our first SCIAC tournament, so it’s exciting.”
At the Point Loma Invitational in early February, Cornejo played a crucial role in the Regals’ ninth place finish of 11 teams, including Division II competitors.
In days following the tournament, the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced Cornejo as Athlete of the Week for women’s golf, alongside her teammate Jeffrey Perry, who was awarded the same honor for men’s golf.
Cornejo, who grew up in Bakersfield, California, first picked up golf competitively in sixth grade, and fell in love with it. Her love for the game is not a surprise, since it’s become a family affair, with her dad inspiring both her and her sister’s passion for the game.
“Golf really stuck with me, and I think it was because my dad loved it so much that I was just more into it,” Cornejo said.
Cornejo’s sister, Grace, is also a member of the Regals’ golf team, and a sophomore at Cal Lutheran.
“It’s been really fun having her here and playing on the same team as her,” Grace Cornejo said. “We’ve been really close since we were little, we’ve never fought–we’re just so close.”
Cornejo credits her sister with being a huge part of her decision to come to Cal Lutheran, since they’ve always loved playing golf together.
“Grace also helped with the recruiting to get her sister here. They wanted to be at the same place playing college golf together,” Lindgren said. “It’s awesome and the family’s very supportive and their parents come out and watch almost every event.”
Lindgren said Cornejo and her sister are very close, but their relationship is not without a little bit of a sibling rivalry.
Before starting golf, Cornejo and her sister swam and rode horses, but both ultimately ended up choosing golf as their sole sport. Cornejo’s passion makes it hard to get her to leave the course, she is always the last to leave.
“She likes to be [practicing] the longest, she works the hardest and she’s really a perfectionist honestly,” Grace Cornejo said.
Cornejo knows this about herself, and says that her sole passion and favorite hobby is, and always will be golf.
“I golf a lot. You could ask any of my teammates or anyone, I am so obsessed. I just love golf,” Cornejo said.
The passion is there for Cornejo, which is one of the many reasons her coach and fellow teammates recognize her as a strong asset to the team.
Coach Lindgren is excited and optimistic about the successes that Cornejo will continue to bring to the table throughout the next three years at Cal Lutheran.
“Claire is easy-going, very coachable, hard-working, wants to get better…pretty committed for sure,” Lindgren said. “As a coach that’s all you can really ask for, someone that’s got the passion, the will and the desire to keep moving and keep pushing and get better.”
As a business major, Cornejo wants to keep sports in her life forever and is interested in having a career in sports management.