Rachel Rohanna, mother of two who lives on a ranch, qualifies for U.S. Women’s Open in home state

Rachel Rohanna is in the midst of a 10-day road trip on the Epson Tour, one of the longest stints she’s endured away from her husband and two kids. It helped that the day before she left, Rohanna qualified for her fourth U.S. Women’s Open with husband Ethan Virgili on the bag.

With this year’s championship at Lancaster Country Club May 30-June 2, it will be an especially meaningful Women’s Open for the Pennsylvania native. She rented a four-bedroom house for the week, but given the number of family members who plan to make the trip, might need to secure more space.

“This will definitely be a once-in-a-lifetime thing for us,” said Rohanna of playing so close to their Waynesburg home.

Rohanna, 33, medaled at the Shannopin Country Club qualifying site in Pittsburgh with rounds of 69-71, and then boarded an early-morning flight to Phoenix the next day for the Epson Tour stop in Scottsdale. It will be a FaceTime Mother’s Day for Rohanna as she connects with 5-year-old Gemelia and seven-month-old Greenlee from across the country. She’d hoped the family would travel with her out west, but Gemelia couldn’t miss the run-up to her kindergarten graduation.

Rachel Rohanna and family celebrate her medal-winning performance at U.S. Women’s Open qualifying. (courtesy photo)

Rohanna will take the redeye out of Utah after the Copper Rock Championship to make it back for doctors’ appointments, graduation and prep work for Gemelia’s sixth birthday party, featuring a Barbie theme with plenty of pink.

“Every time I turn around, she’s inviting more friends,” said Rohanna, with a laugh. The big event will kick off Sunday of U.S. Women’s Open week.

Juggling tour life, mom life and ranch life is an all-hands-on-deck experience. Rohanna and husband Ethan Virgili own ERV Cattle Co., and they recently had a big sale in Hershey. After winning her first Epson Tour title in 2015, Rohanna bought a heifer to celebrate.

Rohanna was 11 weeks pregnant when she stayed with two-time major winner Brittany Lincicome at a tournament last year and asked what it was like traveling the tour with two young children. The message: You don’t know until you just jump in and do it.

“If you travel with two,” said LPGA veteran and broadcaster Karen Stupples, “it’s not just double the work, it’s exponentially increased.”

Stupples has one son, 17-year-old Logan, whom she raised on tour, but she also had a front-row seat to Catriona Matthew’s time traveling with her two girls.

“People were tricking me when they said, ‘Oh going from one to two is not that hard,’ ” said Rohanna, laughing.

The first time Rohanna took both girls on the road with her was for offseason practice in Florida just after Thanksgiving when Greenlee was two months old. The next time came in March for the Epson Tour opener in Winter Haven, Florida. Rohanna was up three times a night with Greenlee.

“I was like there’s no way I can do this,” she recalled. “I’m up with her three times a night during the tournament and not getting any sleep. The chaos of the week – it showed with my scores.”

They’ve gotten into a better rhythm of late, and family support remains crucial.

Rohanna won the 2017 Symetra Tour Championship when she was six weeks pregnant with Gemelia and is believed to be the first mom to earn LPGA status through the developmental tour when she graduated in 2021. While Rohanna does have LPGA status from maternity leave, she has yet to make a start on that tour this season.

Traveling with kids in tow is always an adventure, especially on the Espon Tour where there is no daycare. Five years ago, during the final round of the Copper Rock Championship, Rohanna reached into her bag to pull out a club and discovered that Gemelia’s 23-inch kid’s club had slipped to the bottom.

She called over a rules official and received a four-stroke penalty for having a U.S. Kids 7-iron as her 15th club.

The penalty cost her $900 in earnings, critical on a tour that awards LPGA cards based on the money list. The first time Rohanna graduated from the Epson Tour in 2015, she squeaked in the final card by $284.

Rohanna didn’t qualify for Women’s Open the last time it was held at Lancaster, but she was an alternate for the 2010 championship at Oakmont. She was amazed by the support she felt from the community back then even when she wasn’t even in the field.

No doubt it will be strong this time around in a state where Rohanna’s maternal grandmother, Roseann Schwartz, was a golf course owner and head coach at Youngstown State, and her grandfather, Dick Schwartz, played on the PGA Tour and senior circuit.

In the meantime, Mother’s Day will be special for Rohanna, even if she’s a long way from their Pennsylvania home and reliant on technology to bring them together.

Greenlee, who was born with severe hearing loss in her left ear, was fitted for life-changing hearing aids in January. She’s in the process of learning signs now, and lights up when Rohanna brings her hand to her face to sign “mom.”

Gemelia, who likes to write books for mom while she’s gone, will no doubt have a special one ready when Rohanna returns from this long trip.

Major moments await.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek