LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. – Scott Rohrer of York, S.C., won the gold medal in the Level V 18-hole individual stroke play competition at the 2012 Special Olympics North America Golf Invitational Tournament on Sunday, making this his sixth gold medal performance out of seven appearances. Rohrer shot 83-77-86—246 on the par-72 Gold Course for the best 54-hole score of the tournament, held at The Wigwam Resort.
Rohrer, who has autism, is among 203 golfers from 19 programs representing the United States and Canada, competing in five levels of competition at the 13th annual tournament for athletes with intellectual disabilities. KPMG, The PGA of America, USGA and PGA Tour were presenting sponsors of the 2012 tournament.
Rohrer was the record-making gold medalist at the 2010 Special Olympics National Golf Invitational Tournament when he shot the 18-hole and 54-hole individual stroke play record of 71-75-75—221 at the Highlands Golf Course in Lincoln, Neb. At this Special Olympics national tournament level, Rohrer has won three gold medals (2007, 2009, 2011) in Level III 18-hole Unified Sports team play with his father, Jeff, as his partner; two gold medals (2012 & 2010) in Level V 18-hole individual stroke play; and one gold medal in Level IV 9-hole individual stroke play (2005). He did not play at this level in 2006 and was disqualified in 2008.
Jeff Rohrer, his father and coach, practices with Scott twice a week to get ready for tournaments like this. “Winning gold means a lot to Scott and he had to overcome a challenging course to get there. He loves to compete against me and, even more so, loves when he beats me,” said Jeff.
In the men’s second division, Chris Holmes of The Woodlands, Texas, shot 93-87-90—270 and Tyler Whitehurst of Dunedin, Fla., shot 86-92-97—278.
After recording his personal best score Saturday, a 7-over 43 on the front nine of the Patriot Course, John Stapleton of Elkridge, Md., kept his lead for the gold medal with a 50-43-50—143 in the 9-Hole Individual Stroke Play competition (Level IV). John thought that all of the water on the course made it especially difficult, but he said that he “stood strong and focused to get the ball past the water.”
Ian Swain of Brandon, Manitoba, Canada shot 47-49-55—151 for second place and the silver medal in his first national tournament. After scoring his personal best, a 47, in the first round, he was challenged by all of the bunkers on the course. “I never thought I would start so strong,” said Swain. “It was a tough last round, but I played with all my heart, didn’t give up, and stayed strong.”
Kyle Bugge and Jake Hemelstrand (partner) of Bellevue, Neb., shot a final-round 86, for a 54-hole total of 86-88-86—260 for first place and the gold medal in the 18-hole Unified Sports team play competition (Level III) on the Gold Course. This is the first national tournament for Bugge and Hemelstrand. Jesse Pease and Keith Pease (partner) of Sioux City, Iowa, finished in second place for the silver medal with 90-93-95—278.
Kyle, age 25, has been participating in Special Olympics since 2003 and has been playing golf since he was 10 years old. “It feels amazing to win the gold medal!” He says the best part about his weekend was playing a lot of golf with such a great partner. Jake Hemelstrand, his partner, enjoyed seeing Kyle so focused and executing tough shots under pressure. “Kyle was in the zone and I am very proud of him,” Jake said. Kyle likes that with Special Olympics he has found new friends and enjoys being a part of the Special Olympics family.
In their first national tournament appearance, Chris Conant of Richmond, S.C., and Nick Short (partner) of Atlanta, Ga., shot the tournament’s best Level II, 9-hole team score of 4-over 38 on the Patriot Course back nine to come from behind and win the gold medal with a 46-44-38—128. The team of Brent Apo-Hruska and John Moen (partner) of Bellevue, Neb., who led the first two rounds finished in second place for the silver medal with a 40-49-43—132. Brent has attended one national tournament before this one and said, “It feels really good to win a silver at a national event!” Chris Ringot and Terry Ringot (partner) of St. Louis, Mo., shot 44-45-47—136 for the bronze medal.
The individual skills competition (Level I) tests competitors in six different shot-making skills and the highest score wins. Shane Molovinsky of Rockville, Md., won the gold medal by leading all three rounds of the top individual skills division and saving his best score for Sunday, finishing with 80 points in the morning for a total of 72-74-80—226. Stanley Frederick of Frederick, Md., also scored his tournament best score today with a 71 for second place and a points total of 67-67-71—205 for the silver medal.
Level V – 18-hole Individual Stroke Play
Scott Rohrer, York, S.C. ~ 83-77-86—246 ~ Gold Medalist/Men’s Division #1
Chris Holmes, The Woodlands, Texas ~ 93-87-90—270 ~ Gold Medalist/Men’s Division #2
Tyler Whitehurst, Dunedin, Fla. ~ 86-92-97—278 ~ Silver Medalist/Men’s Division #2
Level IV – 9-hole Individual Stroke Play
John Stapleton, Elkridge, Md. ~ 50-43-50—143 ~ Gold Medalist/Men’s Division #1
Ian Swain, Brandon, Manitoba/Canada ~ 47-49-55—15 ~ Silver Medalist/Men’s Division #1
Level III - 18-hole Unified Sports Team Play
Kyle Bugge/Jake Hemelstrand (partner), Bellevue, Neb. ~ 86-88-86—260 ~ Gold Medalist/Men’s Division #1
Jesse Pease/Keith Pease (partner), Sioux City, Iowa ~ 90-93-95—278 ~ Silver Medalist/Men’s Division #1
Level II - 9-hole Unified Sports Team Play
Chris Conant, Richmond, S.C./Nick Short (partner), Atlanta, Ga. ~ 46-44-38—128 ~ Gold Medalist/Men’s Division #1
Brent Apo-Hruska/John Moen (partner), Bellevue, Neb. ~ 40-49-43—132 ~ Silver Medalist/Men’s Division #1
Chris Ringot/Terry Ringot (partner), St. Louis, Mo. ~ 44-45-47—136 ~ Bronze Medalist/Men’s Division #1
Level I – Individual Skills Competition
Shane Molovinsky, Rockville, Md. ~ 72-74-80—226 ~ Gold Medalist/Men’s Division #1
Stanley Frederick, Frederick, Md. ~ 67-67-71—205 ~ Silver Medalist/Men’s Division #1