Day to Remember

Reidy becomes latest 50-something to win Colorado PGA Professional Championship; Andonian-Smith, Braga first women from Colorado Section to qualify for national PGA Professional Championship

by Gary Baines - 9/12/2018

Blows were struck for senior golfers -- once again -- and for women on Wednesday in the Colorado PGA Professional Championship.

In the first major tournament hosted by TPC Colorado in Berthoud, a player in his 50s won the Section title for an amazing fifth time in the last six years.

And for the first time in the history of the event, a woman -- actually two of them in this case -- qualified for the national PGA Professional Championship.

Yes, it was an eventful day at the Colorado PGA's biggest tournament of the year.

Patrick Reidy, a 52-year-old who has worked at Inverness Golf Club since he was 14, rebounded from a triple-bogey 8 on the 722-yard 13th hole -- yes, you read that right -- by playing his final five holes in 1 under par. That earned him the biggest victory of his career, and the $8,500 that goes with it.

"Other than playing golf at (the University of Colorado in the mid-1980s), this is hands down the greatest thing I've ever accomplished in my golfing career," the left-hander said. "It's great, seriously. It's unexpected to be even having this conversation to be honest with you.

"To actually hold this (trophy) right now is absolutely crazy. It's bringing tears to my eyes."

Reidy (above and left) is just the most recent of the senior set to claim this title in recent years. Doug Rohrbaugh of Carbondale won three straight from 2013 through '15 -- when he was 51, 52 and 53 years old -- and John Ogden prevailed last year at age 50. That means that Geoff Keffer (2016) is the only player under 50 to win the Colorado PGA Professional Championship in the last six times the tournament has been contested.

"It shows how strong our seniors are in this Section," said Rohrbaugh, who tied for second on Wednesday with, among others, 55-year-old Sherry Andonian-Smith of Valley Country Club. "I'd take our top 10 seniors against the top 10 of any Section in the country. The results speak to that."

The women competing this week made a statement as well. As noted, Andonian-Smith shared second place overall, while two-time Colorado PGA Women's Champion Alexandra Braga of Denver Country Club tied for sixth place despite playing her last three holes in 3 over par.

With the top eight finishers on Wednesday earning spots in the national PGA Professional Championship, set for April 28-May 1 in Bluffton, S.C., both Andonian-Smith and Braga will be packing their bags. According to Colorado PGA executive director Eddie Ainsworth, it'll be the first time a woman from the Colorado Section has advanced to the national tournament.

"I've been trying to do it since I've been a Colorado PGA member -- so eight years -- and I've been close a couple of times, so it's great to get it done," said Andonian-Smith, (left) who earlier this year qualified and played in the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open.

Joining Andonian-Smith and Braga (below) in earning berths to the national event were Reidy, Rohrbaugh, Dustin Miller and Eric Bradley from Black Bear Golf Club, Remington Post of Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks and 2012 Section champion Caine Fitzgerald of Meadow Hills.

Reidy birdied the final hole from 5 feet on Wednesday to give himself a two-stroke victory in the Section championship with a 1-over-par 217 total for three rounds. Sharing runner-up honors at 219 with Andonian-Smith (73 Wednesday) and Rohrbaugh (74) were Miller (75) and Post (80).

Braga, Fitzgerald and Bradley tied for sixth place at 221.

That Reidy ended up with the title left him a bit dumbfounded.

"I don't know what to tell you honestly," said Reidy, who has spent all 27 years of his PGA professional career at Inverness. "This is a complete shock.

"I win a pro-am here and there, but I don't win anything big. Things were going well this week. A couple of putts went in. I don't putt great, but putts went in this week. It was fun."

As for extending that remarkable streak of 50-somethings winning this event, Reidy said, "John Ogden inspired me last year. To see Doug Rohrbaugh do what he does, that's inspiring. It's so comforting to see guys that can sustain their career and compete at this level. It's such a great Section to be part of."

Aside from his snowman on the 722-yard 13th hole, Reidy played a very strong final round on a course that measured 7,437 yards for the male competitors. On that 13th hole, he put his third shot in the bunker, failed to get it out, then after he did, he three-putt for triple bogey.

But Reidy birdied the previous hole from 5 feet and No. 18 from the same distance. And he missed three other birdie attempts inside of 15 feet in the final five holes. In the end, he seemed to hit it better than his 74 indicated.

"I could have given up right there (after No. 13)," he said. "But I came off that hole and I said, 'Let's man up and see what you've got and go do it.' I hit great shots all the way coming in.

"I can do more mental damage to myself than anybody on the planet. Today I got out of my own way."

However it happened, the victory left a big smile on the face of a guy who endured more than his share of adversity at a young age. His dad died when Patrick was 16, and the younger Reidy lost sight in his left eye for several years after a racquetball accident during his college days.

But Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Tom Babb, a fixture as the director of golf at Inverness from 1973 to 2000, hired Reidy at the club when he was 14 and mentored him throughout his younger days.

"My dad passed away when I was 16 years old and Tom Babb was there more for me more than any other person on the planet," Reidy said. "At 16 years old, you're going through a tough time. I started working for Tom when I was 14. It changed my life and my golfing career.

"Tom is rolling over in his grave right now, laughing his (butt) off."

Meanwhile, some of the runner-ups on Wednesday were left wondering, "What if?"

Miller, who eagled two of his first three holes, was in great shape to win until playing his first five holes of the back nine in 6 over par. Post, meanwhile, was riding high until playing his final 10 holes in 7 over. And Rohrbaugh (left), the Colorado PGA Player of the Year points leader, had his sights set on his fourth title until making double bogeys on 14 and 18. On the par-4 final hole, he was 40 yards from the hole in two, but caught his wedge thin and his ball flew into the back bunker and he couldn't get it up and down.

"It's just disappointing, very disappointing," he said. "I played really solid all day until (the two doubles). ... I just had one goal: Win. It's real disappointing because usually when I'm in the hunt, that's when I'm at my best. I don't really fold typically."

TPC Colorado, which just within the last couple of weeks started allowing some public play, is expected to host a Tour event next summer as part of a five-year contract. But the 2019 Tour schedule has yet to be released.

Colorado PGA Professional Championship
Sept. 10-12, 2018 (final) at Par-72 TPC Colorado in Berthoud

1. Patrick Reidy, Inverness 71-72-74--217
T2. Sherry Andonian-Smith, Valley 78-68-73--219
T2. Doug Rohrbaugh, Carbondale 75-70-74--219
T2. Dustin Miller, Black Bear 71-73-75--219
T2. Remington Post, Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks 70-69-80--219
T6. Alexandra Braga, Denver CC 69-75-77--221
T6. Eric Bradley, Black Bear 72-74-75--221
T6. Caine Fitzgerald, Meado Hills 72-74-75--221
T9. Mike Zaremba, Desert Hawk 74-73-75--222
T9. Doug Wherry, Jake's Academy 76-74-72--222
T9. Jordan Gibbs, Denver CC 73-71-78--222

For all the scores, CLICK HERE.

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