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Alex Cusumano puts golf on hold – but only for a while

Alex Cusumano                          (Jim Healey photo)

Alex Cusumano (Jim Healey photo)

Alex Cusumano not only gets it done on the golf course, he got it done in the classroom as well. Cusumano, who graduated this spring from Loyola University of Chicago, recently was named Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars by the Golf Coaches Association of America.

Earlier, he was selected to the Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Golf Scholar-Athlete Team.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive because it reflects the time and effort put into both academics and athletics,” Cusumano said. “I am very proud to be one of the few, if any, to have three teammates on the Cleveland Golf/Srixon All America Scholars list.”

Cusumano, a finance major with a minor in accounting information systems, had an impressive 3.35 grade-point average at Loyola.

To be eligible for Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar status an individual must be a junior or senior academically, compete in at least three full years at the collegiate level, participate in 50 percent of his team’s competitive rounds, have a stroke-average under 76.0 in Division I and maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.2. A recipient must also be of high moral character and be in good standing at his college or university.

The criteria for the MVC Scholar-Athlete Team parallel the CoSIDA standards for the Academic All-America voting. Nominees must be starters or important reserves with at least a 3.20 cumulative GPA and must have participated in at least 75 percent of the regular-season matches or the MVC Championship. Student-athletes must have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at their institution and must have completed at least one full academic year at their institution.

He also put an exclamation point on a successful career for the Ramblers by finishing the year with a career-best 74.3 stroke average.

“Looking back on a 74.3 stroke average, I can only be satisfied,” Cusumano said. “I never took it low, but I always managed to keep it in the lower 70s. It was frustrating when I needed to go low but, hey, that’s college golf.

“It is difficult to keep the game sharp for all of the events in the fall and spring seasons.”

The Westminster Christian Academy graduate kicked off his senior season in fine fashion by finishing in a team-best tie for 12th-place at the Tiger Turning Stone Intercollegiate with a 216 (73-72-71).

Cusumano carded a season-low 70 in the opening round of the Green Bay Invitational before capping off his career by tying for 14th-place at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship this past April.

When he began playing in amateur tournaments this spring and summer, Cusumano continued his hot streak. In the Missouri Amateur Championship played at Norwood Country Club, Cusumano reached the Round of 16. He lost in 21 holes to Skip Berkmeyer.

It was his best finish in the granddaddy of all state golf tournaments.

“I usually get burnt out mentally and physically and have not yet been to the Elite Eight,” Cusumano said. “It is a very long event, almost too long.”

Going mano-a-mano with Berkmeyer, one of the area’s top amateurs for more than a decade, Cusumano noted neither was in top form for the long match.

“Skip and I were both playing poorly,” Cusumano said. “One of these days we will both play really well against each other and that will be a heck of a day.”

In the Metropolitan Open that features a field of 66 professionals and the region’s top amateurs, Cusumano showed what he could do rested, refreshed and playing just 18 holes a day. He shot 67 and 68 to tie for the lead after two rounds at the Lewis and Clark Course at the Country Club of St. Albans.

He followed that up by winning the Southern Amateur qualifier in Memphis with a 70.

“This was the first year I played in the Southern Am Qualifier and tournament. I won the qualifier by four shots and played extremely well,” Cusumano said. “The course (Colonial Country Club-South) was firm, fast and set up really well for me.”

Since then, Cusumano has put his college degree to good use. He just began working at World Wide Technology in late July, a move that will curtail some of his playing.

“I will continue to play in the highest level amateur events I can possibly compete in,” Cusumano said. “I will play in a few events this fall as well, but I am focused on the job and taking a minor break from competitive golf.”

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