As a Crofton resident, 16-year old Kaitlyn Rohrback takes drivers education classes, only she has to travel to the Eastern Shore to do it. She has a hectic schedule. When she was younger, her father gave her the nickname of “Bug” because with other family names like Bud and Bub why not have a Bug? In her down-time, this Archbishop Spalding sophomore likes to chill with her friends- all of whom are athletes and play soccer, by relaxing and watching a movie. Her game is not soccer. But she shoots in the mid 70’s in golf. Unlike the pet name given to her, this Bug only intends on annoying her competitors.
This year Kaitlyn earned herself a sliver of history May 17 where the LPGA is concerned. For the second year in a row, this 2007 Maryland Junior Girls Champion, beat out a field of 11 high school females at Mountain Branch in Joppa to represent and play alongside LPGA members during the Pro-Am event at Bulle Rock. This Pro-Am spot was sponsored by The McDonald’s Family Restaurants of Greater Baltimore and WBFF/Fox 45.
The contest consisted of chipping, putting, closest to the pin, longest drive and straightest drive. Kaitlyn achieved the overall best personal score in those five areas. She is the first student ever to achieve back to back wins.
“It was so much fun. I played with Laura Diaz,” she said.
Diaz happens to be her favorite golfer. Imagine playing side by side with your favorite athlete, you’d probably be nervous, right?
“I was more excited than nervous. She is so nice and I had met her before.” Turns out, Kaitlyn’s trainer, Ron Philo is Diaz’s father.
Even though the Pro-Am is somewhat laid back where competition is concerned, don’t think these amateurs don’t bring their A-game. Who wants to hack in front of a pro? As Kaitlyn explained, it’s in the captain’s choice format which means out of the five shots made (one professional is paired with four amateurs) the best shot plays.
“Our group played really well. It was so much fun and such good experience,” she said.
Kaitlyn started golfing at 8, learning from her father. Familiar with competitive athletics, she was sixth in the state in gymnastics- starting when she was just 2-years old.
“Gymnastics teaches you discipline and that is what you need to have in golf,” she said.
Eventually she chose to stick with golf and quit gymnastics. Last year in her first appearance in the Pro-Am, Kaitlyn paired up with Minea Blomqvist and was more nervous.
“I didn’t know anybody in the group and my whole group played really well,” Kaitlyn said. She got to meet Morgan Pressel and Paula Creamer.
Some of the other perks about participating in the Pro-AM, some hob-nobbing with the pros perhaps? “Sunday night there was a pairing party. Monday there was a dinner for the Pro-Am participants and the food was really, really good!” Kaitlyn said, adding that she munched on lobster, crab soup and shrimp at the renaissance Hotel in Baltimore. According to Kaitlyn, none of the pros were at the dinner.
When asked who she would rather meet, Annika Sorenstam or Lorena Ochoa she said it was a tough decision. Both have contributed so much “but Lorena has taken over and Annika’s retiring,” she said, torn by the question. In the end, it was a draw.
Aside from her game, Kaitlyn is looking to the future and learning. When asked what she thought about Michelle Wie’s woes as of late she commented, “I’m going to go down a different path. Some of her decisions were questionable, but she’s still a great golfer.”
Kaitlyn plans on going to college for Business Administration. She is hoping to make it on the futures tour and eventually earn her way into the LPGA. She said that for that to happen a lot of things have to line up just so. But she’s got a good start, doesn’t she?
Kaitlyn participates in the American Junior Golf Association tournaments and was heading to Long Grove, Illinois and then South Carolina for tournaments in the next couple of weeks.
You think Kaitlyn has a one track mind? Not so much. After losing her mother to pancreatic cancer in 2005, she single-handedly planned and organized the first annual Kathy Rohrback Memorial Junior Girls Invitational to help raise money for cancer research. Kaitlyn is hoping that eventually this tournament will grow and include players from the Mid-Atlantic region.
Maybe she does have a one track mind for golf, but no matter what the future brings for Kaitlyn, her star is on the rise.