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Kansas Golf Associaition

Meet the Kansas Junior Golf Scholars - Sam Cunningham

Kansas Golf Foundation Scholar Sam Cunningham is a special young man with a bright future.

"I have taught and coached for 15 years and have met many teens, and I can say without Sam Cunninghamreservations Sam is one of the most well-rounded student athletes I have ever coached." Strong words coming from Ryan Best, teacher and golf coach, at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School. Sam's hard work has received praise not only in the classroom, but also on the golf course.

Sam started his high school golf career somewhat slow.” When I was a freshman I really wasn't very good," explained Cunningham

Working every day in the off-season to get better, Sam became determined to make the varsity team and play in the state tournament. That winter, he dropped his average score by eight strokes and moved from the bottom of his high school roster to the team's top JV player.

"By the end of the season I made the all-EKL JV team. It was after that I realized I could really be good at this game. Coach believed in me, that definitely gave me confidence.”

In 2010, Sam was named Eastern Kansas League (EKL) Scholar athlete and placed second in a KJGA Tournament at Overland Park Golf Course. Also that year, Sam shot a career best 69 at the OP golf course.

Sam first became interested in golf when he was 13 years old. While visiting his grandparents in Chanute, he learned to love the game on a small nine-hole course with his family. "It's a relaxing game, I like being outside and I love the beauty of the courses. In other sports you play on a field or court that is the same size every time, in golf you get a variety and I think that is one thing that makes the game special."

Golf has also taught Sam important lessons off the course, "I have begun to realize how vitally important self-control is. Being able to keep myself under control is a skill I will be able to use in every aspect of my life."

Sam currently attends The University of Kansas and his major is pre-pharmacy. He has an interest in the medical field and how medications interact with the body.

Besides golf, he enjoys baseball, soccer, karate and basketball. He also plays guitar and enjoys country music. He was treasurer of the Key Club, a service organization, and took part in other extracurricular activities. Sam stayed heavily involved while keeping top-notch grades throughout his high school career.

In the future he hopes to be a successful pharmacist while continuing his avid involvement in golf.