Pro golf: Doug Rohrbaugh of Carbondale tied for lead at Champions Tour qualifier
WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – Doug Rohrbaugh of Carbondale is one of four golfers who opened the 2014 Champions Tour National Qualifying Tournament at Orange County National course with a 3-under 69.
Chien Soon Lu (Taipei, Taiwan), Rod Spittle (Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada) and Jeff Coston (Blaine, Washington) also opened with 3-under-par 69s to share the first-round lead in the tournament, which continues today through Friday at the Orlando-area golf course.
Rohrbaugh, the head golf pro at Ironbridge Golf Club in Glenwood Springs who has twice qualified to play in the U.S. Senior Open, was one of just two players in the 78-man field to post a bogey-free round. He finished 1-under on the front nine following a birdie on the par-4 third hole, and he netted birdies on Nos. 10 and 11. He also was the first golfer in the field to come in at 3-under following an early morning tee-off time.
And the conditions were far from ideal, according to http://www.PGATour.com. A cold front moved through the area on Monday night, and temperatures were in the low-50s at the start of the day. They dropped into the mid-40s by afternoon, and strong wind gusts made the wind-chill factor feel like the mid-to-upper 30s. Conditions are expected to improve each day.
“The wind was really blowing the first six or seven holes, and it was a huge factor,” Rohrbaugh told http://www.PGATour.com on Tuesday. “It was tough out there and conditions were not easy, but I chipped and putted well and I think I missed just one fairway.
“I’m from Colorado, so I’m used to this,” he added.
The top-five finishers in the Q-School event of the PGA’s senior tour earn full exemption status on the 2015 Tour, and the next seven finishers will be conditionally exempt. Full exemption means golfers can participate in all Champions Tour events.
Coston was the other golfer who finished with a bogey free round. He was in the next-to-last group and closed out his day with birdies on two of his last three holes to grab a share of the lead. He was conditionally-exempt this year on Tour after finishing T9 at last year’s National Qualifying Tournament in Scottsdale.
There will be no cut in the 72-hole qualifier, which features a 78-golfer field. In addition, the top-30 finishers and ties will be eligible to compete for spots in open qualifiers at all co-sponsored events on the Champions Tour in 2015.
Also in the hunt are Dick Mast and Jim Rutledge, who were both at 2-under after the first day.
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