March 2018, Sports

Freshman Falcon wins CIAA golf tournament

CLAYTON, N.C. (March 27) – Sam Cudjoe (Fr./Bethel, Trinidad and Tobago) of Saint Augustine’s University continued his impressive performance this season by winning the CIAA Southern Division Golf Tournament at Pine Hollow Golf Course on Tuesday.

Cudjoe shot a two-day score of 138 to win low medalist honors. He led the Falcons to their highest finish in the tournament (third) since SAU brought back golf in 2015 after a two-year hiatus. His score was eight strokes lower than Paul Meints of Virginia Union University, who placed second with a 146.

The talented golfer was one of several Falcons who had notable outings in a tournament played in cold and rainy weather. James Thomas Moore (So./Fairfax, VA) gave the Falcons two top-10 golfers when he placed 10th individually with a 156. Jaylon Lynn (Fr./Garner, NC) fired a 162 after shooting a 78 on Tuesday. Kendall White (So./Raleigh, NC) scored an 80 on the first day.

The Falcons, seeded last, got off to a tremendous start Monday as they opened a four-stroke lead over Livingstone College. After shooting a tournament-leading 306, the Falcons fell out of first place Tuesday but played well enough to place among the top teams. Their two-day score of 625 was better than every team except tournament winner Livingstone (612) and second-place Virginia Union (614).

Chowan University was fourth (640) and Elizabeth City State University placed fifth (656) while Fayetteville State University was sixth (678) on the par 71, 6,508-yard course. Johnson C. Smith University was seventh (681) followed by Virginia State University (783).

“I am just happy for the guys,” SAU Head Coach Julius Wells said about the Falcons. “I was pleasantly surprised Monday when we took the lead. I was even more impressed [Tuesday] with how they handled themselves under the pressure of being in first place and playing with the first group. I thought they did exceptionally well. This was a huge stepping stone for us.”

Wells was especially elated with Cudjoe, who was the talk of the tournament. His win was the third in four tournaments dating back to the fall season. This week may have been his most spectacular performance as he shot a first-day score of 65 in cold conditions Monday. The one-round score was the lowest by a Falcons’ golfer since the sport returned in 2015.

“He has already exceeded my expectations,” Wells said. “What sets him apart from nearly every golfer in the tournament is his mental approach to the game. He knows how to block out distractions and focus on what he needs to do. To shoot 65 in the conditions he played in Monday was pretty amazing. It was cold and the course was soft and not getting a lot of rolls, but he still made puts. This guy has a future in golf.”

Despite rain and cold weather, Cudjoe won by eight strokes Tuesday after shooting a 73.

“I want to say thanks to my team and my coach for believing in me,” Cudjoe said. “I am here to make our team better and put us on the map.”

Cudjoe led six golfers including Meints on the all-tournament team. The Livingstone duo of Alex Stewart and Michael Sutton shot 147 and 148, respectively, and Christian Fleetwood of Chowan  and Isaiah Shaw of Fayetteville State tied for fifth at 149.

The Falcons will see their CIAA opponents again in the conference’s Northern Division Tournament in Hertford, N.C., on April 9-10.

— Office of Sports Information