Rohanna Runs Away With Second Open Title
PRESTO, Pa. - The 100th edition of the Pennsylvania Open, presented by Allegheny Health Network, was sure to make history, by virtue of the milestone century edition of the competition. But after two days of spirited competition at The Club at Nevillewood, no one could guess that the history would manifest itself in a record-setting win by professional Robert Rohanna, who fired a final round 68 to win by six strokes. Rohanna's margin is the largest since the event moved to 54 holes in 1997, and the biggest in the championship since Bob Ford won by seven strokes at Aronimink Golf Club in 1981. Rohanna's three-day total of 204 (-12) is the lowest winning score since he himself won in 2010 at Applebrook Golf Club with a score of 201. Additionally, Rohanna becomes the 15th golfer to win multiple Pennsylvania Open titles.
"It was a great week," Rohanna said. "I knew the course fit well for me. I've been hitting the ball well for a couple of weeks now, and this is the result."
One advantage, according to Rohanna, was that the driver was able to stay in the bag on some holes.
"I knew I didn't have to hit driver everywhere," Rohanna said. "I could still hit it far enough and be okay. I didn't have to hit driver and force the issue very often, which was nice."
Coming into the day with a one-shot lead, Rohanna set the tone with a birdie on the 427-yard first hole. After giving a shot back with a bogey on No. 2, Rohanna converted an eagle on the par-5 third hole after striking a 7-iron from 184 yards to about four feet to get to 10-under par and never looked back. A birdie on No. 4 and another on No. 7 (after another 7-iron on a par-5 was again stuck close) put him at -12 for the championship, and he cruised through the back nine to win the title for the second time on a hot and humid day at Nevillewood. With the win, Rohanna took home the $8,000 prize for low professional out of the $40,000 total purse for the championship.
"It was fun to be in control of the golf ball out here," Rohanna remarked. "I knew what certain spots I needed to be in off the tee, and when I did miss, I missed it really well this week."
Though no one seriously challenged Rohanna after he got to double digits under par, four professionals did end up tied for second place scores of 210 (-6) - Mike Van Sickle (the last player to win multiple Open titles), Cole Willcox, David Denlinger and Daniel Obremski.
Van Sickle, who began the event with an uncharacteristic 76 on Monday, fired consecutive rounds of 68-66 to tie for second place. The 2007 and 2008 champion of the event, Van Sickle vaulted up the leaderboard in the final round with a 32 (-4) on the front nine, buoyed by birdies on No. 2, No. 3, No. 7 and No. 8. After another birdie on No. 10, he then added to the intrigue with an eagle on the par-5 12th hole to move to 7-under for the championship. A bogey on No. 13 and pars the rest of the way put his finishing score at 210 for the 54-hole event. Van Sickle's score of 66 was the low for the final round.
Willcox, on the other hand, was the first round leader after a 67 but struggled Tuesday en route to a 73. He bounced back with a final round score of 70 to tie for second. That included five birdies on his round today, including two on par 5s. That continued a trend for the week, as Willcox was 10-under par among the par 5s in his three rounds of action.
Denlinger, of Lancaster, shot a 2-under par score of 70 for the third day in a row. For the three days of competition, he shot now lower than 34 on any nine, yet no higher than 36.
Obremski, a professional from Irwin, jumped up the leaderboard early with three consecutive birdies beginning on the second hole. A birdie on the par-5 seventh hole moved him to 8-under for the day, and with Rohanna still early in his round, anything seemed possible. But three bogeys among his next six holes dropped Obremski back, and he settled for a round of 70 to finish tied for second.
Tied for sixth overall was the low amateur in the championship, Venetia resident Jimmy Ellis. With all three rounds under par, Ellis turned in a solid, steady performance, including just one bogey in today's final round. Ellis tied Sunnybrook Golf Club assistant professional Corey McAlarney, who entered the day just one shot behind Rohanna after opening with rounds of 69-68. However, a bogey on the first hole set the tone for McAlarney, who couldn't seem to get anything going on the afternoon and settled for a score of 74 (+2) and a 54-round total of 211 (-5).
The Pennsylvania Golf Association would like to thank the staff and membership of The Club at Nevillewood for their hospitality during the championship.