Kaitlyn Rohrback, Archbishop Spalding, golf

Q&A //

Tennessee-bound senior won MIAA championship

May 19, 2010|By Katherine Dunn, The Baltimore Sun

Two weeks ago, Kaitlyn Rohrback became the first girl to win the MIAA golf championship, but the Archbishop Spalding senior has been at home on the golf course since she was 8. Her house backs up to the Crofton Country Club and she has been playing in tournaments since she was 10. She has won two American Junior Golf Association tournaments and qualified last summer for the U.S Women's Amateur Championship. In the two-day MIAA finals, playing from the men's tees, she shot 73 the first day and 77 the second day to tie Gilman's Linn Worthington, but she edged him on the first playoff hole. Rohrback, 18, received a full scholarship to play for Tennessee. She has a 3.9 grade-point average and plans to major in business.

Question: Has playing on the team with boys helped your game?

Answer: Yes. I think so, because a lot of the boys think not that I shouldn't be out there, but that in their minds girls aren't as good as boys in golf. just because it is a male-dominated sport and the fact that I can beat them pushes me to play better (laughs), because I know it kills the boys when they get beaten by a girl.

Q: On the Spalding team, are you friends with the guys?

A: Yeah. Our team is really, really close. It's not just that we see each other at practice and at matches, we know what's going on in each other's lives and I had a lot, a lot of fun this year.

Q: What's the challenge of playing from the men's tees?

A: In all of my tournaments, I play from the men's tees and in practice I play from the men's tees, so for me it's not any different, because that's what I'm used to doing. But from the ladies' tees, it's a huge difference. I am at a disadvantage with the boys because they hit it 60 yards further than me. They're hitting a pitching wedge to the green and I'm hitting a 5 iron, so that's a huge difference, but I'm used to it.

Q: Has it helped your drive, playing from the men's tees?

A: I know it's made me work harder to get stronger and put on muscle, so I can hit the ball harder, because I'm not a huge girl. (5-foot-4, 115 pounds)

Q: Do you work out with weights?

A: Not really weightlifting, but I did a lot of working out over the winter, because we were snowed in, so that's really all I could do. We have a little gym set up in our basement. I do a lot of stuff with my own body weight and a lot of stuff with exercise balls and medicine balls.

Q: How far do you drive the ball?

A: I think my average is around 230, maybe 235.

Q: How far do most of the guys drive?

A: I think the average high school boy is around 270, maybe 280.

Q: How do you make up for that distance?

A: I have a really good short game. Chipping and putting is probably what I'm best at and I'm very accurate off the tee. I don't miss many fairways.

Q: When you got to the playoff hole of the MAA championships, your first shot didn't go too well did it?

A: No. I snapped it off the tee and into a fairway bunker and it was right on the upslope of the lip. I tried to hit it out, but I caught a lot of sand and I chunked it. It got out but I hit a lot of sand. Then I still wasn't up to his drive yet, because Linn had hit it really far. I was 20 yards behind his drive, so I chipped it up to like 20 feet (from the hole). He had hit it, but it stayed short of the green, so he putted out of the fringe and left it about seven feet short. I putted and I made it and he missed his six or seven footer.

Q: How did you feel?

A: That was awesome, because I hadn't really made a long putt all day and it was definitely the right time. There were a lot of people watching and everyone was cheering and it was fun.

Q: Did you ever wish there were a girls' team at Spalding?

A: I don't know. I like our coach and I do like playing against the boys, so yes and no, because it would be nice to be with people that I'm normally competing against, but I like the team I'm on. I like the boys on our team and I like the people in our league.

Q: What is your ultimate goal for golf?

A: I'd like to play through college and play well in college and improve there. Then, hopefully try my luck on the futures tour, then the LPGA.

Q: Do you have a fallback?

A: Yeah, I have plans A, B, C and D.

Q: Care to share them?

A: A is the LPGA. B is probably a college golf coach if I can find a good place to coach at. C is teaching professional. And D is a job (laughs), just a regular job.

Q: Have you done any coaching?

A: No, but I've put so much into golf that I don't want to leave it behind after college. That's the good thing about golf, once you're done, like in college if that's where your career ends, you can still go out and play on the weekends. It's harder to pick up a soccer or a lacrosse game with a bunch of 25-year olds.

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