Rohrbaugh rallies, reaches PGA’s Champions Tour
Local golf pro Doug Rohrbaugh rallied in more ways than one at the 2014 Champions Tour National Qualifying Tournament at Orange County National in Winter Gardens, Florida, shooting 4-under on his final 12 holes before winning a one-hole playoff to claim the tournament’s 12th and final conditionally exempt spot in the senior PGA tour.
Rohrbaugh, the pro at Ironbridge Golf Club, is the longtime former director of Aspen Junior Golf.
Rohrbaugh, who earlier last week finished in a four-way tie for the lead in the 78-player tournament, closed his scoring at 1-under 287 for the 72-hole tournament.
That left Roarbaugh, who was tied for 17th in the tournament headed into Friday’s fourth and final round, in a tie for 12th place with Craig Thomas of White Plains, New York.
That set up a one-hole playoff with Thomas and Rohrbaugh for the final conditionally exempt spot on the Champions Tour, which Rohrbaugh won by carding a par on the playoff hole.
The tournament granted spots on the Champions Tour — the PGA Tour for players 50 and older — to the top 30 finishers.
The top five finishers were granted full-exemption status, meaning they can play in all of the Champions Tour events scheduled for 2015.
Conditionally exempt status — the status the Rohrbaugh earned — means players are accepted in tournaments on a space-available basis.
Those who finish among the tournament’s top 30 finishers will be eligible to compete for spots in open qualifiers at all co-sponsored events on the Champions Tour in 2015.
Rohrbaugh finished the first round — played in less-than-ideal cold and windy conditions — with a 3-under 69 to finish in a four-way tie atop the tournament leaderboard.
He followed that, however, with two consecutive rounds of 2-over 74 to fall into a tie for 17th place, yet he was just six shots behind tournament-leader Frank Esposito.
On Friday, Rohrbaugh found himself in a hole early after carding bogies on hole Nos. 1 and 3.
He played bogey-free golf the rest of the way, however, carding birdies on hole Nos. 7, 8, 10 and 14 to finish at 2-under 70 for the day. That tied him with Thomas, and Rohrbaugh’s par on the lone playoff hole was good enough to break the 12th-place tie.
Rohrbaugh, the head professional at Ironbridge Golf Club in Glenwood Springs, is also a two-time qualifier for the U.S. Senior Open.
Earlier this year, Rhorbaugh completed a sweep of the Colorado PGA’s Professional Championship and West Chapter Championship.
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