Karlinski qualifies for state | AspenTimes.com

Karlinski qualifies for state

Nate Peterson

Aspen senior Teddy Karlinski was the only Skier to qualify for the state golf championship Oct. 3-4 at Wednesdays regional in Craig. (Aspen Times file)

Aspen High senior Teddy Karlinski lost a five-hole playoff Wednesday to Steamboat Springs’ Paul Berry to finish second at the regional meet at the Yampa Valley Golf Club in Craig.Karlinski’s reaction: “I wasn’t upset at all. It was my best round ever. I was totally stoked.”

Stoked for good reason. Even before the playoff, Karlinski assured himself a spot at the 4A state golf championship in Denver Oct. 3-4. After a regional meltdown last year, Karlinski wasn’t about to complain about losing a playoff for the regional title.”I’m so happy right now,” he said. “I had to play well to make it, and I played my best round.”Berry, unlike Karlinski, had already prequalified for state before Wednesday’s regional, so the round of 18 was just a tuneup for Denver.When Berry ended up tied with Karlinski at the end of the round, however, it was all business. With a regional title on the line, both golfers bore down and hit clutch shots to keep the pressure mounting. Each sank a 20-foot putt on the first playoff hole – the par-4 10th – to make par and continue the playoff.

The second and third playoff holes also ended with the scores knotted.On the fourth playoff hole – the par-3 seventh – Karlinski thought he had secured the regional crown, only to watch Berry drain a 15-foot putt that prolonged the suspense.”I thought that might have been it,” Karlinski said. “It was a pretty tough putt.”The fifth playoff hole – the par-4 eighth – finally delivered a winner.

Karlinski’s tee shot hit a branch to the left of the fairway, which immediately put him in a tough position after he pitched out onto the fairway. Another shot and hitting another tree only compounded Karlinski’s problems. In the end, Karlinski faced an improbable chip shot for bogey from just off the green to have a chance to tie Berry, who made it to the green in three strokes. The chip shot was not to be, and Berry sank his two-putt for the bogey and the win.Karlinski, along with finishing second individually, was also a first-team all-league selection Tuesday night at the annual regional awards banquet.The Skiers finished third, which means no team berth at state. Junior Matt Butler fired a 78, while senior Wylie Melberg and sophomore Trent Manchester each shot a round of 89. Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is npeterson@aspentimes.com.