DQ costs Rohanna first win on Hooters Tour
Camilo Villegas’ disqualification Friday from the Hyundai Tournament of Champions may be the highest-profile DQ this week, but it won’t be the most dramatic.
Villegas’ DQ took place after the first round of the PGA Tour’s season-opener. Robert Rohanna was DQ’d from a Hooters Tour Winter Series event Thursday after holing a 20-foot birdie putt on the final green for an apparent one-shot victory that would have been worth $10,075.
Rohanna finished at 12 under par for three rounds at Southern Dunes Golf Club in Haines City, Fla., one shot ahead of James Vargas.
In the scoring area, fellow competitor Jeff Corr, who finished at 10 under, expressed concern about an incident involving Rohanna’s play on the 16th hole, according to Yohann Benson, who played in the final group with Rohanna and Corr.
Messages left by Golfweek with Corr on Friday were not immediately returned.
On the 16th, Rohanna hit a wayward tee shot right, toward out-of-bounds. “He hit his (first tee shot) way right. I mean way right,” Benson said. “When my eyes left the ball, it was over the houses already. There was no way the ball was going to be in-bounds.”
Rohanna also hit his provisional right. When a TaylorMade ball, the same model that Rohanna uses, was found in trees right of the hole, Corr and Benson assumed it was his provisional ball. Rohanna and Corr had walked to their balls after a TaylorMade ball was found, and because a rules official was present.
Benson and Corr assumed that Rohanna made double-bogey 7 on the par 5 after an apparent stroke-and-distance penalty. However, Rohanna told Benson and Corr on No. 18 that he’d made par two holes earlier. Rohanna said he completed the hole with his first tee shot.
Because it could not be proved that Rohanna completed the 16th hole with his original tee shot, he had to presume the ball was his provisional and accept the penalty for hitting a ball out of bounds. Rohanna already had signed his scorecard when a decision was reached, though. He was disqualified for having signed an incorrect scorecard, Hooters Tour rules official Ben Larson wrote in an e-mail. Vargas earned the victory and the $10,075 check.
Rohanna, a Waynesburg, Pa., resident and Penn State alumnus, was informed of his disqualification about two hours after the tournament, as he was driving from central Florida to Atlanta.
“I was in shock,” said Rohanna, the 2010 Pennsylvania Open champion. “It’s a crappy feeling. It’s not great. But it was my mistake, and I have to take responsibility for it.”
The numbers on the balls contributed to the confusion.
After his first tee shot on No. 16, Rohanna announced his provisional as a TaylorMade 5 and said he hit the first tee shot with a TaylorMade 3 with similar identifying marks, Larson said.
When players and officials returned to the 16th after play, a TaylorMade 3 with Rohanna’s markings was found in the front yard of a house lining the hole. Benson estimated the ball was 60 yards right of the out-of-bounds line.
Rohanna and Benson said a rules official who assisted Rohanna on No. 16 said after the round that he believed the ball was a TaylorMade 5, though the official was not certain of the ball’s number. “I swear I finished the hole with a 3,” Rohanna said. Benson said he did not know the number of the ball Rohanna used to hole out on 16.
When Rohanna found a 3 while playing No. 16, he presumed a fortunate bounce had sent his ball back into play. Relieved, he completed the hole with that ball. He said he was unaware that ball may have been his provisional.
Rohanna thinks he misidentified his provisional on the tee, declaring it to be a 5 rather than a 3, the same number on the ball he used for his first tee shot. He said the confusion may have arisen because both balls – the one with which he completed the hole, and the one found in the yard – may have been 3s.
“I figured that out two hours after the round was over,” said Rohanna, who earned last-place money of $600 for having made the cut. He is 68th on the Hooters Tour Winter Series, earning $2,326 in three starts. “It was my mistake. I take full responsibility for it. That’s just a bad situation for me, because it looks pretty bad.”