York College golfer Riley Rohlfs wins US Open local qualifier in York

Thomas Kendziora
York Dispatch

Riley Rohlfs competed in plenty of important events during his four years with the York College men’s golf team, but he’s a month away from an opportunity like no other.

Rohlfs advanced to U.S. Open sectional qualifying after winning medalist honors at a local qualifier April 27 at the Country Club of York. He’ll tee it up June 5 at a location to be determined, competing against pros and top players from around the country with hopes of making a major championship field.

Less than a week removed from his final college event with the Spartans, Rohlfs fired a 3-under 67 at his team’s home course in the qualifier, lower than any of his tournament rounds this season. He beat the field by two strokes, with three players shooting 69 to fill out the four available final-stage spots.

York College men's golfer Riley Rohlfs, pictured during a tournament in October 2022, took first place in a U.S. Open local qualifier April 27 at the Country Club of York.

“It was really, really nice to qualify for something,” Rohlfs said. “Because I’m done with college golf forever, it’s nice to be able to practice for something. I wasn’t really sure if I’d be able to make it, too, so that gives me a lot of confidence.”

The Westford, Massachusetts, native began playing competitive golf in eighth grade and was a three-time league all-star in high school. His search for a place to play at the next level brought him to York College under then-coach David Boslough in 2019. He was part of a freshman class that ranked No. 1 in Golfstat’s NCAA Division III class rankings in 2019-20 and has buoyed the Spartans in the three years since.

Rohlfs won his first-ever collegiate event in September 2019, firing rounds of 74 and 69 to capture the Spartan Invitational at Royal Manchester Golf Club. He triumphed three times as a sophomore in 2020-21, including a victory at the MAC Commonwealth championship that earned him Conference Player of the Year honors. He added his fifth career win last fall at the MAC Preview Tournament.

Rohlfs’ average score of 75.07 in his 15 tournament rounds this season led the Spartans by more than two strokes and brought his career average down to 75.42. He excels with his irons but has struggled at times with the putter, which he believes kept his season from reaching its potential. Rohlfs finished fourth at the MACC Championship from April 22-23, with sophomore teammate Gavin Ganter claiming the title and York College placing second as a group.

“I’ve been playing well,” Rohlfs said. “I wish it would have come together when we were in the season. I was kind of struggling a little bit.”

While his low round in competition this season was a 68, Rohlfs has shot in the mid-60s at Country Club of York in practice. He was certainly on his game at local qualifying, starting 3-under through five holes. After missing a four-foot birdie putt at the first, Rohlfs two-putted for birdie at the par-five second. He knocked a flip wedge off the flagstick at No. 4 and made a 10-foot putt. Then he stuck his approach to tap-in range at No. 5.

“That gave me a ton of confidence,” Rohlfs said of the early birdie binge. “I’ve had some really good rounds there, so when I got off to a good start, I was like, ‘I can definitely just keep this going. I’m not gonna start making too many bogeys or any big mistakes.’”

Rohlfs made two birdies, two bogeys and nine pars over the final 13 holes to punch his ticket to sectionals with room to spare.

U.S. Open local qualifiers are still being contested around the country in advance of sectionals. Rohlfs isn’t yet sure where he’ll play his 36-hole marathon on June 5; he submitted the Summit, New Jersey, qualifier as his first choice to the USGA, with Rockville, Maryland, second. 

Rohlfs’ competitive schedule this summer will also include the Massachusetts state open and amateur championships, as well as the New England Amateur. But being 36 holes away from a spot in the U.S. Open, knowing he’ll be competing against veteran PGA Tour players wherever he goes, brings a whole different level of anticipation.

“The final qualifying for this is gonna be the best tournament I’ve ever played in,” he said. “It’s probably the one I’m most excited for.”

The 123rd U.S. Open will be contested June 15-18 at Los Angeles Country Club.