Basalt’s Rohrbaugh wins state golf title |

Basalt’s Rohrbaugh wins state golf title

Basalt High School senior Tristan Rohrbaugh, pictured here in a tournament at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale, is the first individual golf state champion in school history. He shot a 1-under 71-70—141 to win the Class 3A state title by four strokes.
Jim ryan/Special to The Aspen Times |

When you shake Tristan Rohrbaugh’s hand, you’ll be shaking the hand of a state champion.

Rohrbaugh, a Basalt High School senior, played virtually flawless golf Tuesday to win the individual championship at the Class 3A State Golf Championships at the historic Pueblo Country Club.

Rohrbaugh shot a 1-under par 70 for the second round of the state championships, coming from two strokes behind to win by four strokes over Behrod Keshtavar, of Peak to Peak High School (Lafayette).

He finished as the only golfer under par at state as he won the first state golf title in the history of Basalt High School.

“It was my short game (Tuesday),” Rohrbaugh said in a telephone interview with The Aspen Times. “I got up-and-down a lot.”

The Basalt senior posted two birdies and only one bogey on the 6,500-yard country club course.

His first birdie came on the long par-5 at No. 5, an uphill challenge.

“I left it short … 35 yards. Then, I hit to within 6 feet, and I made the putt for birdie,” Rohrbaugh said, recalling his shots with the precision he used on course earlier.

His other birdie came on another par 5 — No. 14.

“It was reachable, but I came up just short … front edge (of the green) on the fringe,” Rohrbaugh said.

He tapped to within 3 feet and dropped the birdie.

His bogey came at No. 12 when he hit the one shot he’d like to get back.

But, he said, a bigger disappointment came at No. 10 when he let a birdie slip away into a par.

“I pinned it with my driver … to 10 feet. But the putt rolled all the way off the back of the green,” Rohrbaugh said.

His up-and-down game saved par.

In the meantime, the first-day leaders struggled under pressure.

Alexander Dawson teammates Cole Folwell and Cameron Connor shot 6 over par and 7 over par , respectively, while Rohrbaugh posted the only under-par score.

“You could tell they were feeling (pressure),” he said.

Meanwhile, he kept his head down. And the putts kept dropping.

Finally, with the end in sight, he learned from his gallery (including his dad, golf pro Doug Rohrbaugh) that he had a three-stroke lead.

Might as well make it four.

“But I still got nervous,” Tristan Rohrbaugh said of the final hole at the state tournament.

“On my second shot into 18, there was such a crowd, I didn’t want to hit somebody.”

He didn’t.

“Tristan played steady golf, very steady golf,” said Basalt coach Al Rakowski, who was voted the coach of the year in Class 3A. “Two birdies; one bogey; the rest pars.”

Rakowski said the Basalt senior took a game plan to the course Tuesday morning, and he followed it precisely.

He opted to attack where he saw opportunities — the two par 5s.

And the played strategic golf elsewhere.

“He played steady and let the others make the mistakes,” Rakowski said. “He was so confident (Tuesday). He just knows his emotions so well.”

Having his father in the gallery was a special treat, Rakowski said of Doug Rohrbaugh, the golf pro at Iron Bridge near Glenwood Springs and a former director of Aspen Junior Golf.

“For Doug to be here. For a dad to see that, to see your son win a state championship … very exciting,” Rakowski said.

“When his dad and I were talking down the 18th fairway, we had smiles you could not wipe off our faces,” Rakowski said. “And tears … tears streaming down our faces.”

Skiers finish fourth

Aspen senior Clayton Crawford led the Skiers at the state championships with his tie for seventh place. He finished the tournament 10 over.

He helped the Skiers finished fourth in team scoring at state. They shot a composite plus-48, three strokes back of both Denver Lutheran and Peak to Peak.

Alexander Dawson won the Class 3A state team title with a score of plus-19.

Aspen’s Trey Robinson shot a 79 on Tuesday to finish 18 over at state. Will Hazen shot an 84; he finished tied for 23rd.

Patrick Martin shot 83 in the final round. He was tied for 33rd.

Basalt’s Peter Steckler shot an 81 on Tuesday to finish tied for 30th.

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