Lisa Cornwell’s golfing career started with an extreme amount of pressure. She was just eight-years-old on the 9th-hole of the Fayetteville Country Club, eyeing down a 20-foot putt that, if made, would mark her first-ever birdie.
The pressure began to mount when Frank Broyles and Darrell Royal walked over to watch from the 18th hole.
Her father told her if she sunk the putt, he would give her $20. Cornwell rolled it in, Broyles and Royal started clapping and Cornwell was $20 richer.
“That will always be one of the highlights of my sports career. Maybe that got me into the Hall of Fame,” Cornwell laughed.
Maybe it did. On Friday night, Cornwell was officially enshrined into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2021. And it was an honor she that she thought she may never get,
“I was surprised, honestly. I wasn’t expecting it and I certainly wasn’t expecting it this soon. I’ve had so many people tell me that you go through several years of being on the ballot. So, I didn’t really have my expectations up. I told my parents, I was like, ‘look, this may never happen,'” said Cornwell.
Cornwell stopped playing competitive golf after the age of 24, but accomplished so in a short amount of time. She won four Arkansas Women’s State Amateur Championships, including her first at age 14, which remains the youngest age for a champion in history.
She continued to play collegiate golf at SMU before transferring to Arkansas, becoming the first female scholarship golfer in the school’s inaugural season.
Cornwell is the only female in the 2021 Class, but that’s nothing knew to her.
“There wasn’t a high school girls golf team at Fayetteville High School. I played with the guys. I grew up playing with the guys. It doesn’t feel any different I guess, it’s just an incredible honor. But I know that a lot of great women have gone into this Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, so to be one of the women overall is special,” she said.
Cornwell was officially enshrined in the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame on Friday night in Little Rock.