DeWitt, Rohrbaugh Score Breakthroughs
2 Colorado professionals qualify for their first U.S. Senior Open
by Gary Baines
Rick DeWitt has accomplished plenty in his golf career, including winning six CGA Player of the Year awards and qualifying for 21 USGA championships -- going into this week, at least.
But one thing the Arvada resident has never done is compete in an event on the PGA, Champions or Nationwide Tour schedule.
However, that will soon change. On Monday, the 55-year-old earned medalist honors in U.S. Senior Open Sectional Qualifying to nail down one of two available national berths at The Heritage at Westmoor in Westminster.
DeWitt joined Doug Rohrbaugh of Carbondale, the PGA head professional at Ironbridge Golf Club in Glenwood Springs, in earning trips to Indianwood Golf Club in Lake Orion, Mich., site of the U.S. Senior Open July 12-15. (DeWitt is at right in the photo with Rohrbaugh.)
"I've never played in a PGA (Tour-related) tournament, so this is my last shot," said DeWitt, the 1999 CGA Stroke Play champion who turned pro in 2006. "So it means the world to me. I thought, 'God, just let me play in one PGA tournament before it's all over -- just one, God. I deserve one. I look at some of these guys who have played in PGA after PGA tournament. Just give me one.'"
Rohbaugh was similarly ecstatic after putting a lot of time and energy into qualifying for this event. He just turned 50 last month, thus becoming eligible for the Senior Open.
"This is my first (senior) event," he said. I've been focusing my whole spring on this today.
"So this means a lot. I want to go to (Champions Tour qualifying) in the fall. I'm sure like a lot of golfers, I really looked forward to turning 50. It's so hard to compete against these young guys anymore. I don't hit it bad, but they hit it 60 (yards) by me. That's hard to compete against."
DeWitt, who plays out of Indian Tree Golf Course, shot a 6-under-par 66 on Monday to lead the way in a field that originally numbered 74. Rohrbaugh was the only other player to break 70, posting a 67 for the second and final available national berth.
DeWitt made seven birdies and one bogey to lead the field, earning a spot in his 22nd USGA championship. By DeWitt's best recollection, he's also qualified for three U.S. Amateurs, four U.S. Amateur Public Links, eight U.S. Mid-Amateurs and six USGA State Team Championships.
And now the U.S. Senior Open gets added to the list.
"It's not my greatest accomplishment, but it's huge," said DeWitt, runner-up in the senior division of the Hawaii State Open in December. "If I go out there and make the cut, it could end up being huge."
Rohrbaugh carded six birdies and one bogey on Monday.
"I put myself in a good spot on about every hole today," said Rohrbaugh, whose only blemish was a missed 2-foot par putt on the fifth hole. "That was huge, it really was. I really did play solid."
The result is a berth in the most notable tournament of Rohrbaugh's career.
"This would be my biggest (event) by far," he said. "The Australian Open (in 1988) was big, but a USGA major would be definitely bigger."
The two alternates in Monday's qualifying were Rick Cole of Eaton (70) and David Ogrin of New Braunfels, Texas (71).
Low-amateur honors Monday were shared by five players who shot 72: Scott Sullivan of Grand Junction, Thomas Roos of Englewood, John Olive and David Delich of Colorado Springs, and Robin Bradbury of Superior.
Meanwhile, another player with Colorado ties, former University of Colorado golfer Mikael Hogberg, previously qualified for the U.S. Senior Open. He earned a national berth for the second straight year, this time by tying Andy Bean for medalist honors in a qualifier in Greensboro, N.C., last week. Both players shot 68.
U.S. Senior Open Qualifying
At Par-72 Heritage at Westmoor in Westminster
ADVANCE TO U.S. SENIOR OPEN
Rick Dewitt, Arvada, Colo., 34-32--66
Doug Rohrbaugh, Carbondale, Colo., 35-32--67
ALTERNATES (in order)
Rick Cole, Eaton, Colo., 34-36--70
David Ogrin, New Braunfels, Texas, 36-35--71
FAILED TO QUALIFY
David Arbuckle, Colorado Springs, Colo., 36-36--72
Scott Sullivan, Grand Junction, Colo., 35-37--72
Ken Krieger, Cheyenne, Wyo., 35-37--72
Thomas Roos, Englewood, Colo., 37-35--72
Russ Clark, Boulder, Colo., 38-34--72
John Olive, Phoenix, Ariz., 38-34--72
William O'Shields, Aurora, Colo., 38-34--72
Michael Zaremba, Pueblo West, Colo., 34-38--72
David Delich, Colorado Springs, Colo., 37-35--72
Robin Bradbury, Superior, Colo., 38-34--72
Erroll Miller, Breckenridge, Colo., 38-34--72
Sean Forey, Morrison, Colo., 36-37--73
Grant Porter, Castle Rock, Colo., 37-36--73
Rob McLelland, Aurora, Colo., 35-38--73
Pat Bowe, Denver, Colo., 36-37--73
Ron Vlosich, Lakewood, Colo., 34-40--74
Gregg Jones, Colorado Springs, Colo., 36-38--74
Greg Woodhouse, Thornton, Colo., 34-40--74
Don Hurter, Sedalia, Colo., 35-39--74
John Ward, Denver, Colo., 41-34--75
Mike Borich, Salt Lake City, Utah, 38-37--75
Robert Polk, Parker, Colo., 36-39--75
Scott Radcliffe, Golden, Colo., 36-40--76
Rick Uhlir, Boulder, Colo., 38-38--76
Peter Sylvester, Oro Valley, Ariz., 39-37--76
Stephen Bell, Denver, Colo., 38-38--76
Van Lefferdink, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., 37-39--76
Fred Birner, Denver, Colo., 39-37--76
Thomas Woodard, Denver, Colo., 39-37--76
Jeff Seltz, Arvada, Colo., 40-36--76
Perry Holmes, Denver, Colo., 36-40--76
Kent Moore, Littleton, Colo., 37-40--77
David Brown, Lafayette, Colo., 38-40--78
Keven Rutherford, Farr West, Utah, 38-40--78
Doug Perry, Fort Collins, Colo., 37-41--78
Tom Nosewicz, Aurora, Colo., 38-41--79
Chuck Fisher, Westminster, Colo., 38-41--79
Jeff Klein, Scottsbluff, Neb., 37-42--79
Matt Hall, Grand Junction, Colo., 39-41--80
Hal Marshall, Denver, Colo., 41-39--80
Mark Matthews, Colorado Springs, Colo., 43-38--81
Glenn Hyde, Denver, Colo., 41-40--81
Robert Cloud, Denver, Colo., 39-42--81
Jim Lemar, Littleton, Colo., 42-39--81
Dave Desantis, Salt Lake City, Utah, 41-40--81
Tom Grawe, Conifer, Colo., 40-42--82
Mark Crabtree, Lakewood, Colo., 39-44--83
John Hoge, Parker, Colo., 40-43--83
John Sostmann, Littleton, Colo., 43-40--83
Robert Burke, Longmont, Colo., 42-42--84
Scott Westerberg, Greeley, Colo., 41-43--84
Bo Powell, Westminster, Colo., 42-43--85
Randy Miller, Boulder, Colo., 39-47--86
Eric Powers, Colorado Springs, Colo., 42-46--88
Troy Wilson, Castle Rock, Colo., 40-55--95
Russ Aragon, Aspen, Colo., WD
Mark Mobley, Vail, Colo., WD
Edward Bethea, Dodge City, Kan., WD
Dale Bonati, Colorado Springs, Colo., NC
Kenneth Sady, Avon, Colo., WD
Gary Sladek, Fort Collins, Colo., WD
Audie Dean, Centennial, Colo., WD
Robert Cooley, Parker, Colo., WD
Mark Mattarocci, Pueblo, Colo., WD