Friends link up for a 1-2 finish
Recent Roaring Fork High School graduate Adam Joiner eyed his opponent’s approach on 18 intently.Joiner was leading by two strokes in the third and final round of the Daily Sentinel West Chapter Jr. Championship in Grand Junction. Despite the weight of the moment, he mustered a joke as the two competitors watched the ball land on the green and seemingly disappear into the cup. It looked as if his good friend Teddy Karlinski – a Western Slope rival and summer playing partner – had tied him.The pair soon found out Karlinski’s ball had stopped within 4 feet of the cup; Karlinski holed out for an even-par 72 at the Lincoln Park Golf Course. Joiner lagged his putt from 15 feet to 1 foot below the hole, then calmly sank his shot for par. He and Karlinski finished first and second, respectively, out of a field of 30. Judging by the two’s reaction following the tournament, the experience was as important as the finish. “We always have a good time playing together,” said Karlinski, of Snowmass Village. “It’s a great feeling and I’m very happy.”Karlinski and Joiner were paired together in October for the final round of the 4A Boys State Golf Championship at the Wellshire Golf Course in Denver, finishing second and fourth, respectively. They also play at least once a week this summer, sharing jokes and insights on a wide variety of techniques and shots, Joiner said.Joiner, who trailed the tournament leader by a stroke heading into Wednesday, said he was relieved for a pairing with his good friend.”Playing with Teddy is something I always look forward to on multiple-day tournaments,” he said. “He keeps it loose, and it’s so fun to play with him.”Joiner birdied 10 holes during the first two rounds – at the Bookcliff Country Club, then Tiara Rado Golf Course – but only managed to post matching 4-over 75s. He rolled during the opening holes both days, Joiner said, but was plagued by multiple bogeys during the middle of the round. Karlinski, too, struggled with consistency en route to a 75, then a 76 at Tiara Rado.Their pairing Wednesday proved to bring out the best in one another, however. The duo both finished with even-par 72s at Lincoln, playing the nine-hole course twice. The round was not without its tense moments, however. This was especially true for Joiner.Joiner bogeyed his first hole. After stringing together 10 consecutive pars, his driver went awry on the 11th tee. His first shot went out of bounds to the right; his second pulled right, into the water. Joiner was the beneficiary of a fortunate drop and hit his iron to the edge of the green, then got up and down for a double.”I was definitely thinking eight or nine there,” Joiner said. “I got really fortunate.”Despite his frustration, Joiner responded with back-to-back pars, then birdied 14 and 15, extending his lead to three shots over Karlinski.Karlinski wasn’t about to fold. He birdied 17, then nearly holed out from the fairway from 18. Joiner needed par or better on 18 to claim the title. “If I three-putted, he would’ve tied me,” said Joiner, who will attend South Mountain Junior College in Phoenix this fall. “He put the pressure on because I had already hit. My first putt came up a foot short. My second was uphill and straight, but the one-foot putts feel a lot longer at the end of a tournament.”Joiner converted for the win. Karlinski, who showed no disappointment, was the first to congratulate his friend. The two then shared a ride home.”I feel like we had a very good accomplishment today,” Karlinski said.Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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