Special Olympics golfer Scott Rohrer of York, S.C., concluded a banner week of play at the Highlands Golf Course Wednesday, posting a second consecutive 3-over-par 75 for a 54-hole Special Olympics national competition scoring record of 5-over-par 221, earning the gold medal in the Level V Individual Stroke Play event of the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games, held July 19-21 in Lincoln, Neb.
Rohrer, 21, collected four birdies, offsetting a triple bogey on the 10th and three bogeys on the 5,142-yard, par-72 layout. Rohrer began his final round on the 10th hole with a triple bogey. “I had a rough start getting that triple bogey, but I just didn’t let it faze me. I knew I had to focus on my game and I wouldn’t worry on it,” said Rohrer.
Rohrer opened the tournament Monday with an 18-hole event record and personal-best 1-under-par 71. PGA of America Honorary President Brian Whitcomb met with Rohrer at the leader board to congratulate him on his National Games feat. Rohrer has traditionally played in the national event with his father in the Level III 18-hole team play event, winning the gold medal in the Level III 2009 Special Olympics Golf National Invitational Tournament. Scott’s father, Jeff, was on site in Nebraska, but helping out as coach with the Level I Individual Skills competition. “My wife, Elizabeth, was Scott’s caddie so I knew he was playing great, I just didn’t know how great,” said Jeff, also of York, S.C., after Scott's record-setting first round. “He was on his game today, that is for sure. I think that the course we play in South Carolina, River Hills Country Club, makes you hit your shot with accuracy or you are in real trouble… that is what helped him here today.”
After his final round and record-breaking tournament performance, Rohrer’s father said, “Five over par for three days is unbelievable. I saw him struggle with his start on the 10th hole, but then went to help at the Level I competition. When he came in with a 75 I thought to myself that this boy turned it around and really got it together. I’m as proud as a coach and dad can be.”
LEVEL I, II, III, IV BEST SCORES:
In the Level IV 9-hole individual stroke play competition at the USA National Games, Chase Turri, 22, of Alamogordo, N.M., finished with a gold-medal lowest overall score of 43-44-46—133. In the Level III 18-hole Unified Team competition, Special Olympics golfer Clint Blalock, 19, of Lebanon, Tenn., and his playing partner Eddy Blalock, shot – 98-99-91—288 to grab a gold medal and the lowest overall score.
In the Level II 9-hole alternate shot team competition, Special Olympics golfer Christopher Lussier, 18, of Cranston, R.I., and playing partner Alan Lussier shot 42-43-39—124 for the overall lowest score and gold medal win. The Level I Individual Skills competition was won by Jada Goodson, 15, of Virginia Beach, Va., who earned 68-75-70—213 for the most points overall in six golf skills contest.
(Full results at www.2010specialolympics.org and www.pgamediacenter.com)
A field of 179 golfers representing 39 states competed at the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games. Golf is one of 13 competitive sports at the USA National Games, which has attracted nearly 3,000 Special Olympics athletes from across the United States in the largest multi-sport event in the history of Nebraska, and one of this year’s largest multi-sport events in the United States.
Special Olympics golf, part of the worldwide Special Olympics sports movement for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, offers five levels of competition for athletes of all abilities. Level I is an individual skills contest, where six golf skills are tested. Level II is an alternate shot team play, where a Special Olympics athlete is paired with a non-Special Olympics partner of more advanced skill for a 9-hole competition. Level III is Unified Sports team play, pairing Special Olympics and Unified partners of similar ability for an 18-hole competition. Levels IV and V are individual stroke-play 9-hole and 18-hole competitions, respectively. Competition for Levels I, III & V was held at Highlands Golf Course, while Level II & IV competitors played at Mahoney Golf Course. Awards ceremonies for the golf competition followed Wednesday’s final round.