Athlete Spotlight: Luis Cedeno
Playing in the U.S. Amateur is a dream many golfers have growing up.
UALR sophomore golfer Luis Cedeno was fortunate enough to earn a spot in the 2011 championship after shooting 3-under-par at the TPC Blue Monster course at Doral in a 36 hole qualification round that took place in August. The 111th US Amateur was held Aug. 22-28 at the Erin Hills and Blue Mound Golf and Country Club in Erin, Wisconsin.
“I played fantastic, it was a good experience, it gave me a lot more confidence,” said Cedeno,“ I know now I can play in big events with the best players in the world and all I need now is to get more practice in to always play the best.”
A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Cedeno faced many challenges in coming to America to play golf, chief among them, to learn the language. Before coming to UALR he attended an ELS language center in Miami for six months in 2009 in order to prepare for college.
The difference in the style of golf courses between Venezuela and the United States is something he was ready for.
“Playing golf here in America is a little harder,” he said, “but I grew up playing in tournaments here and it gave me better insight of what the courses were like here and how different they are than back at home.”
The courses in his home country are also not kept in the best shape.
“Golf courses in Venezuela are totally different from here in America, they are short, narrow, and the conditions are not very good compared to here,” he said.
UALR wasn’t really on Luis’ radar until fellow Venezuelan and former UALR golfer, Felipe Velazquez put him in contact with men’s golf coach Wyn Norwood. “I talked to him to see if there was any chance to go here, and so he contacted coach and Norwood came and recruited me.” said Cedeno.
He hasn’t always been a golfer; in fact he didn’t start playing golf until he was 11 years old. “My dad introduced me to the game, before I was playing baseball, and when my dad showed me the game of golf I quit baseball.”
Luis’ idol is 22 year-old 2011 U.S. Open winner Rory Mcllroy. “(He’s my favorite) just because he is such a great player and he won a European tour event when he was 18, making him my idol, I like the way he plays, how aggressive he is, and his swing is just amazing.” said Cedeno
When he isn’t playing golf, you can find Luis playing soccer or wishing he was on the beach.