Rohanna competing for Ohio State. Photo courtesy of Ohio State University.

Rachel Rohanna plays her way back on the LPGA Tour
By Mike Dudurich • January 4, 2022

Mike is a freelance writer and host of The Golf Show on 93.7 The Fan Saturday mornings from 7-8 AM. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeDudurich.

Six years ago, Rachel Rohanna was justifiably excited.

She was a 24-year-old who had just qualified for the big leagues of women’s professional golf, the LPGA.

Fast forward to now. Six years later, the young lady who was thrilled to play on the LPGA back in 2016-17 is excited to once again do battle with the world’s best women’s professional golfers.

She has practiced and practiced and practiced and has described that as “trying to go above and beyond.”

That practice often came under the lights at Nemacolin Country Club, after a day of helping out on their farm and, of course, helping her daughter, Gemilia, go through the process of growing up. She routinely hits 150 putts and some chips, all of that dependent on how much time she has and what’s going on at home.

The first time she made it from the Symetra Tour, by her own description, she was “holding on tight” to qualify. This year, it was a totally different situation.

“I had more of cushion this time,” Rohanna said. “I got on a real hot streak, like my sophomore year at Ohio State when I played well in college and then continued in the US Women’s Amateur and one after that.

“This year, I felt like the whole second half of the season, it was a different feeling. It was weird. I was so confident with my game. I had three good tournaments in a row, and it felt so good.”

That streak was something that would be the envy of a golfer at any level. At the Twin Bridges Championship, she posted rounds of 69-68-70 and finished. At the Danielle Downey CV Classic, she put up another two outstanding rounds of 67-68 and finished second again. At the Donald Ross Classic & Florida Resort, she was 68-66-71 and finished third.

She earned over $50,000 and rocketed up the Symetra Tour money list to a much more favorable spot where earning an LPGA card was a real possibility.

“I still don’t feel like I played outstanding,” Rohanna said while discussing her entire 2020 season. “In Albany, I hit 9-iron into every green, shot 9-under in the first round and finished 41st. So, I could have done more and done things better.

“I played pretty solid, kept the same good attitude and obviously super-excited and can’t wait to get started,” she said. “I know all the ladies out there and that’s fun. I’m actually older than most,” she laughed. “There’s no more nerves or stress. I know how I envision my game. My length will be an advantage, but many of the girls out there are 20 yards past me.”

It's ironic that she would mention the other players being longer than her. That has proven to not be much of a deterrent for Rohanna. When her schedule has permitted, she’s played in three West Penn Opens, pitting her skills against a collection of the best male players in the West Penn Golf Association.

“It is always cool to tee it up with the guys,” she said. “I love seeing where my game compares to the best of the best in western Pennsylvania. Terry Teasdale and the whole WPGA crew has always been very welcoming to me. They set the course up to test all parts of your game and I really enjoy that.”

Rohanna also remembers playing in five or so other WPGA events in the younger years of her career. But as happens to everyone, details about those events are sketchy.

She has plotted her 2022 schedule, at least the early part of it. She’ll start the season at the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio in Boca Raton, Fla. And she’ll play the next week in the LPGA Drive On Championship at a site to be determined in Florida in early February.

The Tour then will go to the Far East for a couple weeks in mid-March in Singapore and Thailand. It will make that jaunt without Rohanna, who’ll next play at the JBTC Classic presented by Barbasol in Aviara Golf Club.

“My first year was 2013 on the Symetra Tour and there was so much to learn. Making sure your caddie got paid, travel, expenses. But I had to learn quickly because this was my job.”

Now that she’s been there, done that, she expects to be able to handle all of that much more efficiently, giving her more time to concentrate on her job: Golf.

Rohanna knows about the LPGA and the greater expectations for those who play there.

“There’s an extra layer, moving up to the LPGA,” she said. “An extra layer of toughness. I know I like quicker greens that we’ll seen on the LPGA. Greens in regulation will be very important. One more green in regulation can make a big difference in your round.”

Rohanna has played in over 41 LPGA events, including three U.S. Opens and has made the cut in 10 events over an eight-year professional playing career.

Better courses, better quality of players and for the young moms out there, there’s a day care center to take yet another worry away. “I like having G (her nickname for Gemelia) out there with me for however long it works, but since the LPGA offers childcare, that takes care of that worry.”

Rachel Rohanna is geared up and anxious to get started on her second full-season foray on the LPGA Tour as a better player and a more mature person than she was six years ago. Her skills with golf clubs in her hands and her skills dealing with the pressures of tournament golf have improved as well.

“In golf, you are out there for five hours and it takes two seconds to hit a shot. There is a lot of time to think about it and a lot of mental stress,” Rohanna said. “Golf used to consume me. Having a kid takes your mind off a lot of things.”

About the WPGA
Founded in 1899, the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association is the steward of amateur golf in the region. Started by five Member Clubs, the association now has nearly 200 Member Clubs and 33,000 members. The WPGA conducts 14 individual competitions and 10 team events, and administers the WPGA Scholarship Fund.