Rachel Rohanna’s strong play in the season-ending Symetra Tour Championship was worth more than the $12,438 she pocketed for her share of a two-way tie for fourth place.
The payday moved her into 34th on the money list, meaning the Waynesburg Central graduate was able to bypass Stage II of the LPGA Qualifying School. The top 35 on the money list were exempt for playing in Stage II.
The strong finish enabled Rohanna to save a round of qualifying and pocket the costs of playing in Stage II.
“Bypassing Stage II is pretty cool. It means I don’t have to pay an extra $4,000,” said Rohanna. “The way I finished in the last three weeks helped a lot. It was very comparable to the way I was playing in the early part of the season.”
Rohanna finished at 13-under 275 in the Symetra Tour Championship last week, including three under-par rounds of 67, 67 and 69.
She opened with an even-par 72 after 16 pars, one birdie and one bogey. Rohanna made the cut with a 5-under in the second round with six birdies and one bogey.
Rohanna shot up the leaderboard after a bogey-free third round that featured five birdies.
She closed with five birdies and two bogeys in the final round, and, momentarily, had a share of the lead after her 13th hole.
“I only had four bogeys over four days. I love that course (LPGA International, Jones Course in Daytona Beach, Fla.) so much. I have so much confidence playing there,” said Rohanna. “It’s pretty wide open and I can swing away on it. I was able to use my driver. That helped a ton.”
Rohanna also acknowledged an equipment change she made midway in the tournament.
“I switched balls. I’ve played Callaway my whole life. I told my caddie I was hitting good shots, but the ball was not reacting like I wanted on the green,” explained Rohanna. “I decided to give something else a try to be more consistent on the greens.”
“I went to the pro shop and bought a couple sleeves (of Bridgestone balls). Twelve dollars for three balls,” Rohanna said with a laugh.
Rohanna will spend the next couple weeks at home practicing before the final stage of qualifying at Pinehurst Resort begins on Oct. 23.
“Qualifying changed last year. It’s a different way,” said Rohanna. “Only 25 golfers out of 300 advance from Stage II. The top 45 in the final stage get their full-status card.”
Four rounds will be played at Pinehurst No. 6 from Oct. 23-26 and four more on Pinehurst No. 9 from Oct. 30-Nov. 2.
Rohanna said she’s mentally ready for so many rounds of golf and noted the physical toll 144 holes of golf can have on a body.
“I’ve been in a really good place mentally all year,” said Rohanna, adding, “Physically, I’m getting up there. I’m 28.”