Tennessee-bound star rolls in Md. Women's Amateur

BALTIMORE - Archbishop Spalding High doesn't have a girls' golf team. So for four years, senior Kaitlyn Rohrback had to play with the boys. No problem. Two months ago -- as one of two girls in a field of 99 -- Rohrback won the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championship, beating the boys from their own tees.

Match notes » It was the eighth straight year that a different player won the Maryland Women’s Amateur.» Two-time runner-up Lisa Schlesinger won the first flight.

That preparation served Rohrback well this week in the Maryland Women's Amateur. Rolling to a 4 and 3 victory over 2008 champion Caroline Sweet, Rohrback put an appropriate finish on a tournament she dominated.

The 18-year-old Crofton resident, who will play this fall at the University of Tennessee, made three birdies in the final 10 holes Thursday at Sparrows Point Country Club, never trailing Sweet, a 19-year-old from Bowie.

"This feels great," Rohrback said. "I'm done with junior golf now, so this is kind of like the next stage -- amateur golf and college -- so it's really nice to get a win."

Rohrback was playing the tournament for the second time. She lost in the semifinals as a 14-year-old. Last year she was busy with the U.S. Women's Amateur. In 2007, she played in the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship.

Growing up in a home that backs up to the sixth tee at Crofton Country Club, Rohrback seemingly was born to play golf. Coincidentally, Crofton also is the home course of Sweet, a junior at William & Mary, who won her Maryland Women's Amateur title there.

"She's a good friend of mine," Rohrback said. "So it was a fun match."

At 5-foot-4 and 115 pounds, Rohrback doesn't hit the ball long. She relies instead on her accuracy and short game. Both were on display in the title match. At No. 6, a 461-yard par 5, she nearly reached the green in two, settling for a chip to within eight feet and a birdie putt.

At No. 8, Rohrback hit her "best drive of the week," setting up a 9-iron to within four feet for another birdie and a 3-up lead. At No. 12, Rohrback used the same plan -- another strong drive around the dogleg and a 9-iron, which finished inches from the hole for a birdie and a 4-up advantage.

"It had been my goal going into high school to win that tournament once," she said. "I had never really played well in it until this year."