RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Some athletes are born, some are made and still others are little combination of both.
“It started at the tender age of three in my backyard back home in Trinidad and Tobago,” said St. Augustine graduate Samuel Cudjoe.
It wasn’t long before Cudjoe’s backyard couldn’t hold his game, so his dad took him to a local golf course. At age 6 he wasn’t just competing in events, he was winning.
The trophy cabinet in his parent’s home quickly filled up and one special tournament win in 2012 changed everything.
“I shot 65 with a 15 handicap like the net total and this was like at (age) 11,” said Cudjoe. “The second day I came back I think I shot a 68 or somewhere in that area won the tournament.”
The secret was out, Cudjoe was being compared to Tiger Woods and he wanted to develop his game to the fullest and that meant one thing.
“I told my parents I want to leave I want to come to America and when I eventually came in 2013 for the summer — I came 2012-2013 for summer camp — I told my mom I was like ‘I don’t want to come back’,” said Cudjoe. “In 2014 I came to America full-time to IJGA in South Carolina. People back home ask my parents they were like you going to send your son away and they were like this was not my decision.”
His skill with the clubs was more than obvious from day one. A stellar high school career gave Cudjoe his choice of colleges to play for.
He visited many, but only felt comfortable at one as St. Augustine’s just checked all the boxes.
“I was like I don’t want to go to a school that already has a fame I want to go create my own destiny,” said Cudjoe. “I want to control my own destiny so I was like OK I can go to Saint Augustine control my own destiny like I can stand out and be the standout person I don’t want to be under the limelight of other people.”
Cudjoe was the CIAA Golfer of the Year and CIAA Rookie Golfer of the Year as a freshman in 2018.
That same season, he qualified for the NCAA Division II Atlantic/East Regional Tournament as the top individual seed. A two-time All-CIAA selection, Cudjoe holds the school record for the lowest individual one-day score of 65 through 18 holes.
In his senior season, he was a top-10 candidate for the Arthur Ashe Jr. Male Sports Scholar of the Year Award. To be nominated, a student must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least a 3.5 and be active on his or her campus or in the community.
“I hate bragging. I just like the performance to showcase everything so with the award I was like OK it’s another award but it’s a big one this time,” said Cudjoe. “It’s the Arthur Ashe Award and I’m like OK, I’ve won the CIAA player of the year which is big. You’ve won the conference stuff, rookie of the year you can perform but this one stands out a little bit more.”