Rohrbaugh rallies, reaches PGA’s Champions Tour
WINTER GARDEN, Fla. — Carbondale’s Doug Rohrbaugh rallied in more ways than one on Friday at the 2014 Champions Tour National Qualifying Tournament at Orange County National, 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, who on Tuesday finished the day in a four-way tie for the lead in the 78-player tournament, finished the tournament 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.
Attempts to reach Rohrbaugh by phone Friday night were unsuccessful.
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 round 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 on Sept. 23 by winning the latter at Aspen Glen Golf Club.
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