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Tim Mutrie
Aspen High School golfer Teddy Karlinski tees off on No. 17 during the Aspen Invitational at the Aspen Golf Club on Tuesday. Adam "A.J." Joiner of Roaring Fork looks on at left. Aspen Times photo/Devon Meyers.

Behind top-five individual performances from juniors Teddy Karlinski and Wylie Melberg, the Aspen High boys golf team matched its best finish of the year Tuesday afternoon in Aspen, taking third behind Durango and Roaring Fork.Aspen finished the 18-hole Aspen Invitational at the Aspen Golf Club with a combined three-player score of 237, one back from Roaring Fork at 236. Durango, with six players firing scores in the 70s, put up a scorching 223.Durango’s Devin Schreiner won a sudden-death playoff against Roaring Fork’s Adam “A.J.” Joiner to earn low medalist honors. Schreiner and Joiner both shot 2-over rounds of 73, one stroke ahead of Aspen’s Karlinski and another Durango Demon tied for third, and on the first playoff hole, No. 17, Schreiner made par and Joiner bogeyed.Melberg shot a 5-over par 76 to finish fifth in the individual calculation.

“I could’ve shot better,” said Karlinski, who has four top-five individual results this season. “I was 3-over [par] on the two par 5s on the back, and they’re really easy. But I’m happy with 74. And Wylie was solid, too.”Roaring Fork’s Joiner, who like Karlinski came up through the Aspen Junior Golf program at the Aspen course, saw his even-par round vanish on the last two regulation holes, bogeying No. 17 and 18.”I hit both greens, so you know it was kinda bad,” he shrugged.Joiner tied for low medalist honors in the Battlement Mesa tournament Aug. 12, and took second with a 71 at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale last week (when the winner shot a 69).

“We’re getting there,” Joiner said of Roaring Fork teammates, including Sean McMechen, who shot a 78 to finish 10th overall.Aspen’s Colin Sledge shot an 87. Charlie Olson shot a 91 and Matt Butler carded a 94.Durango, a perennial state power, often plays high school tournaments on the Western Slope, though the Demons compete in Class 5A come the regional and state tournaments. Aspen and Roaring Fork play in the smaller, Class 4A.”We compete against Durango all year long – which is great because it shows us how we fare against the best – but we don’t have to play in the postseason,” said Aspen coach Henry Adams. “So against the 4A teams, we’re right there. One stroke out. And that’s encouraging for us, and we have three more weeks to do a little more improving before the regional tournament.”

For Aspen, the result marks also another step away from previous seventh and sixth-place finishes.”But for the hometown boys, we didn’t score as well as we could have. We did pretty good – third place good,” Adams said. “And we’re really pleased for Teddy and Wylie, to see them up in the top-five. That’s gives us a strong backbone.”Battle Mountain finished fourth in the team scoring, three strokes behind AHS at 240, followed by Rifle (245) in fifth. Eagle Valley and Glenwood Springs tied for sixth at 271.The Aspen and Roaring Fork teams tee off at Devils Thumb in Delta on Thursday for another high school tournament, and at Cedaredge golf course on Friday.Tim Mutrie’s e-mail address is mutrie@aspentimes.com

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