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Friday, October 31, 2014

College career over, former Mizzou golfer Emilio Cuartero looks forward

In Cuartero’s senior season, the Tigers went to the NCAA Golf Championships for the first time since 2005.

July 9, 2014

When Emilio Cuartero came to Missouri, he could barely speak English.

“It was a challenge,” Cuartero said. “My English was really bad, but I knew I wanted to be there. My mind was set to fight through the struggle.”

Cuartero, who completed his final season of collegiate golf this year, came over to the United States from Spain in 2010 to attend Mizzou. He chose the Tigers over Indiana University and Jacksonville State. Coming out of high school, Cuartero was ranked the No. 1 amateur golfer in Spain.

And though he could barely speak English when he came to Missouri, that didn’t stop him putting together a successful collegiate career on the way to becoming a professional golfer.

At Missouri, Cuartero was a two-time academic All-American. He won his first match as a Tiger at the Washington State Snowman Getaway and never looked back. Cuartero earned six top-15 finishes in his sophomore season. His senior year, the Tigers went to the NCAA Golf Championships for the first time since 2005. Cuartero finished the tournament 15th overall, to finish off his career with Mizzou with his ninth top-20 finish of the season.

“It was the closest I’ve been to a professional event,” Cuartero said of the NCAA Golf Championships. “The level was so high. It doesn’t get any tougher than that.”

Cuartero was the co-captain of the Tigers last season, along with fellow 2014 graduate Hunter Kraus.

“He worked hard, he always competed,” Kraus said of Cuartero. “Him playing so well pushed everyone else to raise their game and work harder.”

Kraus feels Cuartero will be very successful in his professional golf career.

“He can compete at the highest level, whether it is the European Tour or the PGA Tour he will be at the top,” Kraus said.

Sophomore golfer Tripp H’Doubler said Cuartero was a tremendous help during his first year with the team.

“He is wise beyond his years, so there were many occasions when I would seek his advice even more than our coaches,” H’Doubler said. “He gave off a vibe when practicing that made others recognize that he was a different breed of talent than everyone else on the team.”

Cuartero is now back in Spain, a place he spent so little time during his college career — only going back home for winter and summer breaks. He will represent Spain in the Junior Golf World Cup and continue to play in many big European tournaments.

With his college career over and his professional one in front of him, Cuartero said he wouldn’t change a thing.

“It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it,” Cuartero said. “If I had to do it all over again, knowing everything that I know, I would choose the same thing.”

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