Congratulations are in order to two of St. Louis’ finest ambassadors for the great game of golf: Thomas O’Toole, Jr. and the incomparable Ellen Port.

O’Toole has been put up by the nominating committee of the United States Golf Association to serve a one-year term as its president. The election of officers and the 15-member USGA executive committee will take place Feb. 8 at its annual meeting at Pinehurst in North Carolina. As president, the 56-year-old O’Toole, 56 will lead the USGA’s 300-plus professional staffers and some 1,200 volunteers who serve on more than 30 committees.

“I am truly honored and deeply humbled to have been nominated as the next president of the USGA,” O’Toole says. “It has been my privilege to serve the organization for 25 years as a Rules official at the U.S. Open and other USGA championships.”

O’Toole is a partner in the law firm of Mickes Goldman O’Toole, and chairs the firm’s business and corporate group. He received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Saint Louis University.

Port Wins

Ellen Port has successfully defended her Senior Women’s Amateur title for her sixth U.S. Golf Association victory. The 52-year-old Port, a high school teacher and girls golf coach at John Burroughs, beat 50-year-old Susan Cohn of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., 3 and 2 at CordeValle in San Martin, Calif.

Typically humble, Port is not making a big deal out of her win. “Well, it means that I outlasted 135 really good golfers; and—as I’ve reacquainted myself with some of my professional friends who played on the LPGA Tour—that to win, to play nine matches, to play a lot of rounds and still be standing at the end and then go ahead and seal the deal, it just is a great feeling,” Port says. “All the work that you put in over the years—I can think of some of the sand shots I hit and how well I played out of the sand this week—and it is a very rewarding feeling. It’s a very fulfilling feeling, and I’m honored to be a USGA champion.”

Cusumano Playing Well

Loyola University Chicago senior Alex Cusumano is winning league golf awards with his solid play this fall. The Westminster Christian Academy grad has twice been honored by the Missouri Valley Conference as its Golfer of the Week.

“Alex has carried his strong play from the summer right into the fall college season,” says Kyle Stefan, Loyola’s director of golf. “It’s clear that he has put in the work and that’s evident in his results right now. The depth of talent in the Missouri Valley is impressive. The starters in this league are highly skilled and seasoned just like Alex, but he has really stood out this first month.”

Cusumano, the team captain, leads the Ramblers with a 72.9 stroke average through 10 rounds this season. Stefan, in his first year as the coach at Loyola, sees much to admire in Cusumano this fall.

“The thing I like most about Alex is that he is a fierce competitor,” Stefan says. “His game is simple and consistent, he can shape shots and control his trajectories, and he really thinks his way around the golf course.”

Women’s Senior Amateur

Wildwood’s Tina Jones won the 21st Missouri Women’s Golf Association Senior Championship at the Cape Girardeau Country Club. Jones led by a shot with her 73 after the first round of play. Jones led Deb Sawyer, of Jefferson City.

The two went back and forth, trading birdies and bogeys and were tied at the turn on the second day. Jones shot a 75 for her second round to finish at 148. Sawyer had a 149.

Other local golfers competed in the tournament. West County’s Barbara Berkmeyer, who is a 10-time champion of the event, finished fourth with a 157. Mindy Dull, of Chesterfield, was 12th with a 171. Melanie Trimmer, of Chesterfield, finished 15th with a 174.

Well, that wraps up another month. We’ll conclude the golf season next month. We’ll have the locations for some of 2014 main amateur tournaments as well as a look who won state in high school girls golf. Until then, keep hitting them straight.

Warren Mayes writes about the local golf scene for the Ladue News and his motto is you can't birdie them all unless you birdie No. 1.

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