Rohrer smashes Special Olympics scoring record
It was a record-breaking week for Scott Rohrer at the Special Olympics USA National Games.
Rohrer, 21, of York, S.C., broke the Special Olympics 18-hole scoring mark Monday with a 1-under 71 at the 5,142-yard layout at the Highlands Golf Course in Lincoln, Neb.
Rohrer, who was competing in his first individual national championship, broke the previous record of 73, which was set last year by Joel Murray of West Monroe, La.
“My long game was working well,” said Rohrer, who was diagnosed with autism at age 6. “It felt really great. I couldn’t believe my eyes.”
Rohrer didn’t stop after securing the 18-hole record. He kept making pars and finished the 54-hole tournament with back-to-back 75s, becoming the only player in Special Olympics history to record three rounds in the 70s. His 221 total obliterated the previous Special Olympics 54-hole record by 15 shots.
When asked whether he had been nervous about playing with the lead or chasing records, Rohrer paused.
“Not as nervous as my dad was,” he said with a laugh.
Rohrer’s final round started with a hiccup as he made a triple bogey on the first hole. But where many players might become flustered for the remainder of the round, Rohrer took his frustrations out on his next tee shot and moved on.
“I didn’t want to have trouble on the next hole, so I just got that bad hole out of my head,” he said. “I figured I’ll just play the best I can, and if a triple comes up, I won’t worry about it.”
Scott’s father, Jeff, said that type of focus – which he thinks could be a byproduct of Scott’s autism – has become one of the strongest points of his game.
“If he gets into it, he is just so focused, nothing seems to faze him,” Jeff said. “It’s been so great that he has been able to find a sport where he can really utilize that.”
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The Special Olympics USA National Games consists of five levels of competition, allowing athletes of all abilities a chance to compete. The levels break down as follows:
- Level I – Individual skills competition that tests six golf skills
- Level II – Alternate shot team play, pairing a Special Olympics athlete with a non-Special Olympics partner
- Level III – Team play, pairing two Special Olympics partners of similar ability for an 18-hole competition
- Levels IV and V – Nine and 18 hole individual stroke play competitions
Rohrer typically has competed in the team competition with his father but opted for Level V this year.
“My wife was Scott’s caddie, so I knew he was playing great; I just didn’t know how great,” said Jeff, who was busy volunteering as a coach for the Level I competition. “He was on his game this week, that’s for sure.”
After Scott’s parents learned he had autism, they were advised by doctors that an individual sport such as golf would be a better fit for him than team sports. Since then, Jeff has worked to teach Scott the game, and the two now play every weekend at River Hills Country Club in Lake Wylie, S.C.
“We’ve had so much fun playing golf together over the years,” said Scott’s father, Jeff. “We love to compete against each other, and he really gives me a run for my money. I think he really likes competing against Dad.
“When he wins, everyone knows about it, that’s for sure.”
Jeff said the other members at River Hills love having the tall, thin, long-hitting Scott around. They even threw him a send-off party last week before Scott left for the national games.
“This (win) is something pretty special, not only for Scott, but for a lot of the guys at the course that have watched him grow up,” Jeff said. “I can imagine there will be a lot of celebrating when we get back.”