Record low round highlights first day at Special Olympics golf tournament

Sherry Major


Published: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 | 12:28 a.m.

Special Olympics golfer Scott Rohrer, age 21, of York, S.C., finished Round 1 of the Level V 18-hole individual stroke play event of the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games with a record round score of 71 on Monday, beating the former Special Olympics 18-hole tournament world record round score of 73 shot last year by Joel Murray of West Monroe, La. Rohrer’s 71 on the Highlands Golf Course is his personal best score and achieved in just his first 18-hole individual stroke-play national event. PGA of America Honorary President Brian Whitcomb met with Rohrer at the leader board to congratulate him on his National Games feat.

“I had four birdies, a bunch of pars, a couple of bogeys, but overall not a bad day. Actually, it was just awesome and the best I’ve ever done,” said Rohrer. 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 was Scott’s caddie so I knew he was playing great, I just didn’t know how great,” said father Jeff Rohrer, also of York, S.C. “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.”

Another Special Olympics competitor, Tyler Lagasse, age 23, of Tyngsboro, Mass., achieved an eagle on the 360-yard, par-4 18th hole to finish the day in second place of the Level V 18-hole individual stroke play event with a first-day total of 79. “It was an uphill shot against the wind and I just didn’t think I could get it on the green,” said Lagasse. “It ended up two feet from the hole and I drained the putt.” (Top line results below; full results at

A total of 179 golfers from 39 states are competing at the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games in Lincoln, July 19-21. Golf is one of 13 competitive sports at the USA National Games where nearly 3,000 Special Olympics athletes from across the United States are competing in the largest multi-sport event in the history of Nebraska and one of the largest multi-sport events in the United States during 2010.

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 is taking place at Highlands Golf Course, while Level II & IV competitors are playing at Mahoney Golf Course. Awards ceremonies for the golf competition will take place immediately following the final round on July 21.

Monday’s Golf Special Events:

PGA of America Proclamation: PGA of America Honorary President Brian Whitcomb presented a formal PGA of America proclamation of support to Special Olympics North America at 4:00 p.m. on the Fan Fest stage of Special Olympics Town. “The PGA of America first approached Special Olympics in 1988 to offer golf as an official Special Olympics sport,” said Whitcomb. “Since then, many of our 28,000 men and women PGA Professionals have been proud to champion the growth of Special Olympics golf in their communities across the United States and today, some 18,000 Special Olympics athletes enjoy playing golf with their friends, family members and fellow athletes. It is my honor to offer The PGA of America’s continued support of Special Olympics golf with an official PGA of America Proclamation.”

PGA Play Golf America Experience: The PGA of America and the Nebraska PGA Section were hosts Monday to the Play Golf America Experience -- a complimentary clinic for all Special Olympics athletes and spectators featuring PGA Professional expert instruction -- from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at the Special Olympics Sports Experience within Special Olympics Town at the Pershing Auditorium in Lincoln. Hundreds of athletes, family members, volunteers and Games spectators received free instruction and golf tips from Nebraska PGA Professionals. Nebraska Section PGA Professionals are volunteering throughout competitive rounds as rules officials and tournament operators.

Having supported the growth of and development of Special Olympics Golf since it began in 1988, The PGA of America and USGA are providing assistance at the USA National Games with rules officials, tournament administration, and course setup, in addition to financial contributions.

Topline Results:

Level 5: 18-Hole Individual Stroke Play
Scott Rohrer, York, S.C., age 24 -- 71*
Tyler Lagasse, Tyngsboro, Mass., age 21 -- 79
Grace Anne Braxton, Fredericksburg, Va., age 38 -- 82

Level 4: 9-Hole Individual Stroke Play
Chase Turri, Alamogordo, N.M., age 22 -- 43
Michael Porte, Belleville, Ohio, age 31, -- 48
Buddy Randall, Wylie, Texas, age 32 -- 48
Michael Madden, New Brighton, Minn., age 43 -- 49

Level 3: 18-Hole Unified Sports Team Play
Josh Parks, Benton, La., age 17, (partner Billy Parks) -- 96
Tara Nelson, Hilliard, Ohio, age 28, (partner Jen Edgin) -- 97
Clint Blalock, Lebanon, Tenn., age 19 (partner Eddy Blalock) -- 98
John Jr Muisenga, Midland, Mich., age 22, (partner John Muisenga) -- 98

Level 2: 9-Hole Alternate Shot Team Play
Christopher Lussier, Cranston, R.I., age 18, (partner Alan Lussier) -- 42
Andrew Martinez, Kansas City, Mo., age 26, (partner Michael Martinez) -- 43
Michael Ciociolo, Holden, Mass., age 24, (partner Jim Ciociolo) -- 46

Level 1: Individual Skills Competition
William Guy, Greene, R.I., age 26 -- 69
Jada Goodson, Virginia Beach, Va., age 15 -- 68
Kari Larson, Eden Prairie, Minn., age 27 -- 63

For more information on the tournament, please visit For more information on Special Olympics, please visit