Hanson and Rohrbaugh fight it out in a 3-hole playoff challenge

What a final day it was at the 2020 Colorado Senior PGA Professional Championship at The University of Denver Golf Club at Highlands Ranch! In the end, PGA Professional Jeff Hanson, Director of Golf at Red Sky Golf Club, maintained his day-one lead and held off the rest of the field to claim the title of Champion. This may be Hanson’s first Senior Section title, but over the years, he has earned the top spot in several other Championships like the Match Play, Myran Craig and Pro-Pro-Pro, to name a few. Hanson also claimed the Colorado PGA Assistant Championship in 1990.

“On the first day, I had some great drives and some really good iron shots,” admits Hanson. “However on day two, I was 3-over par after five holes. Nothing was going right.”

On Monday, he explains how he missed a really short putt on 9 (for par) to make the turn but then birdied 10, 11 and 12 to help his game. From there, he played really solidly all the way until 18 where he missed another short 2-footer for birdie. Tuesday was a different story. It wasn’t until later in the round that Hanson took charge of his game. He had a great par on 16 and a stellar shot on 17 for birdie but instead had to settle for par on the Par-3. Knowing he had to have a good showing on 18, he got up and down on the green and was faced with a 15 foot down-hill putt to tie. He admits that it was the only solid putt he had all day and it fell.

At the end of 18, Hanson and Doug Rohrbaugh, PGA, Instructor at The Snowmass Club, each finished 5-under-par setting themselves up for a playoff.

In the playoff, both players hit really good drives on 10 but on 11, Rohrbaugh hit into the fairway bunker and then clipped the lip. Still, both made par forcing them into a third playoff hole. Then on 12, both hit beautiful shots down the fairway and were on the green in regulation. Rohrbaugh missed his 25-foot putt but Hanson was able to capitalize by making his 20-footer from behind the hole for birdie to win. For Hanson, the playoff win was all about two really good putts, something he confesses was not his strength on the second day of the Championship.

A man of few words and fighting his emotions while describing what this win meant to him, Hanson expresses, “I just kept fighting. I just kept hanging in there. I am proud of the way I hung in there after the start I had in the second round.”

He also acknowledges Rohrbaugh by saying, “Since Doug and I have been in the Section equally long, we have played together many times. He just wins more often so it is nice to get a win this time.”

When discussing the playoff, Rohrbaugh comments, “I missed two fairways in the playoff; I didn’t miss two fairways in the two days. I drove it so well. My putter is what cost me. I had 10 putts inside 6-feet for birdie that I missed in the two rounds. Some days they drop and some days they don’t. Jeff is a good, good friend and I am happy for his win.”

From the field of 58 players, the Colorado Section is allocated seven qualifying spots at the 2020 Senior PGA Professional Championship at the PGA Golf Club-Wanamaker Course in Port St. Lucie, Florida, on October 15-18, 2020. Hanson and Rohrbaugh claimed the first two spots.

Finishing tied for third at 2-under-par and also qualifying for the National Championship are PGA Professionals Michael Zaremba, Director of Golf at Desert Hawk, and Micah Rudosky, Head Professional at Conquistador. A four-way tie for fifth place forced a playoff to determine who would fill the remaining three qualifying spots. Bill Hancock, Head Professional at Littleton Golf and Tennis; Dale Smigelsky, Life Member; and John Ogden, Head Professional at Cherry Hills, claimed these spots.

Filling the five alternate slots, in order of selection, are Barry Milstead, Director of Golf at Valley Country Club; Ron Vlosich, Life Member; Paul Lobato, Instructor at Castle Pines; Doug Wherry, Director of Instruction at Jake’s Academy; and Dan O’Shaughnessy, Head Professional at Meadow Hills.

The University of Denver Golf Club, a Hale Irwin design with a great variety of holes, was in great shape and the greens were perfect, shared many of the competitors. This course has played host to many Colorado Section events over the years.

“I am so happy to host this event and provide a little normalcy in a year that has been all but normal,” shares the University of Denver Golf Club Head Golf Professional, Andy Benson, PGA. “These golfers are my peers…people of my age group that I have seen and known for years. It’s fun to be a part of this event.”

The Colorado Section and the 58 participants of the Senior Championship thank Benson and his staff for their warm welcome and for providing such great course accommodations. Also worthy of recognition is the event sponsor, the PGA Tour, for helping to make this event the success it was.

To see the full results of the 2020 Colorado Senior PGA Professional Championship, click here.