Best of 2019

Fitzgerald, Rohrbaugh, Andonian-Smith and Lanting no strangers to Colorado PGA Player of the Year honors

By Gary Baines – 10/31/2019 

The Colorado PGA will hold its Special Awards Gala at Colorado Golf Club in Parker on Friday, and while many of its award winners were announced in early August, some have been finalized in the interim, including the Section’s four players of the year.

Caine Fitzgerald, an assistant professional at Meadow Hills Golf Course, earned the Dow Finsterwald Player of the Year award for the second time, having previously captured the honor in 2013. 

The left-hander (pictured above) won the season-long Colorado PGA Match Play Championship. He beat Dillon Joslyn of Heritage Eagle Bend 5 and 4 in round of 16; Dan Sniffin of Omni Interlocken 4 and 3 in the quarterfinals; Eric Bradley of Catamount Ranch and Club 3 and 1 in the semifinals; and Jack Allen of Cherry Hills 2 up in the title match.

Fitzgerald also won or shared titles in pro-ams at Ptarmigan, Blackstone and Cheyenne Country Club. He finished second in the National Car Rental Colorado PGA Assistants Championship and 13th in the Colorado PGA Professional Championship. He also competed in the national PGA Professional Championship.

Doug Rohrbaugh, an instructor at both Snowmass Club and Lakota Canyon who is teaching in China for the next six months, captured the Senior Player of the Year award for the fifth time, matching Dave Arbuckle’s record in the category. Rohrbaugh, a three-time winner of the Colorado PGA Professional Championship as a senior player, previously won the SPOY award in 2012, ’13, ’14 and ’18. 

Rohrbaugh tied for eighth place in the Colorado PGA Professional Championship and qualified for the 2020 national PGA Professional Championship after competing in that event this year. He placed eighth in the CoBank Colorado Senior Open and third in the Colorado Senior PGA Professional Championship. He also competed in the national Senior PGA Professional Championship.

Last year, Rohrbaugh became the first person to earn the Colorado PGA’s POY and SPOY honors in the same year.

Sherry Andonian-Smith of Valley Country Club landed the Women’s Player of the Year honor for the second time in the two years the award has been given. She prevailed in the Colorado PGA Women’s Championship for the first time in the four-year history of the event, winning by one stroke in the 36-hole event.

Andonian-Smith also competed in the U.S. Senior Women’s Open for the second straight year, as well as the national PGA Professional Championship and the national Senior PGA Professional Championship and she tied for eight in the Colorado PGA Professional Championship.

Ben Lanting of Bear Creek Golf Club claimed the Associate Player of the Year honors for the second straight season. He won the National Car Rental PGA Assistants Championship for the second consecutive year, this time by one stroke over Fitzgerald. 

Here are the winners who will be honored on Friday at the Colorado PGA’s Special Awards Gala at Colorado Golf Club:


President’s Award (promoting and enhancing PGA professionals, the PGA Section and the game of golf and contributing to the betterment of the golf professional vocation) — Colorado Golf Club

Noble Chalfant Inductees (distinguished service to the Section) — Alan Abrams, Indian Tree GC, and Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Bob Doyle

Vic Kline Award (to Section board of directors member for outstanding service and leadership for the Section) — Bobby Quaratino, West Woods GC

Omega Dow Finsterwald Player of the Year — Caine Fitzgerald, Meadow Hills GC

Omega Senior Player of the Year — Doug Rohrbaugh, Snowmass Club

Women’s Player of the Year — Sherry Andonian-Smith, Valley CC

Associate Player of the Year — Ben Lanting, Bear Creek GC


Golf Professional of the Year — Russ Miller, The Broadmoor. (For earlier 2019 honors for Miller, CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE.)

Assistant Professional of the Year — Derek Rush, Cherry Hills Country Club

Teacher of the Year — Steve Atherton, Eagle Springs Golf Club

Bill Strausbaugh Award (mentoring fellow PGA professionals) — Rick Cole, Eaton Country Club

Horton Smith Award (exceptional contributions to promote and improve PGA educational programs)  — Josh Miller, GOLFTEC

Warren Smith Award (special contributions to game of golf, the Colorado PGA, junior golf and their facility)  — Tom Buzbee, City of Boulder (Flatirons Golf Course)

Player Development Award — Kirk Mease, Wellshire Golf Course

Youth Player Development Award — Trent Wearner, Trent Wearner Golf Academy

Private Merchandiser of the Year — Andrew Hedrick, The Country Club at Castle Pines

Public Merchandiser of the Year — Keith Stilwell, Cheyenne Shadows Golf Course at Fort Carson

Resort Merchandiser of the Year — Kenny Thayer, Beaver Creek Golf Club