Carbondale’s Joiner holds own against pros at Colorado Open
DENVER, Colorado – As an amateur trying to lock down a collegiate home, Carbondale’s A.J. Joiner knew a strong showing at the weekend’s Colorado Open could open some doors.A 32nd-place finish among a loaded field of pros at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club in Denver shouldn’t hurt the 20-year-old Roaring Fork High School graduate, who recently wrapped up his sophomore year at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix.After making the cut with matching rounds of 74 Thursday and Friday, Joiner roared back Saturday and Sunday with a 71 and 1-under-par 70 to vault up the leaderboard. His four-round score – a plus-5 289 – landed him in a sixth-place tie among amateurs.
“I wasn’t very pleased with my first two rounds, but it was good enough to make the cut,” Joiner said of his second Colorado Open. “There’s always pressure to make the cut. The rest of the weekend was stress-free. I played as hard as I could, and I played pretty well.”Joiner is in the midst of finding a home for his final two years of college. He hopes interested universities take notice of his Colorado Open showing.”This weekend was big, playing top competition,” he said. “Placing good at a professional tournament is pretty big for people to look at. We’ll see what happens.”On deck for the former Ram is today’s U.S. Amateur sectional qualifier at Colorado Golf Club in Parker. A finish in the top three there would send him to the Aug. 14-18 U.S. Amateur in Pinehurst, N.C.Rohrbaugh, Antonelli also in actionJoiner wasn’t the only Western Sloper swinging in Denver.Ironbridge Golf Club pro Doug Rohrbaugh and local pro Luke Antonelli, a Silt resident and Rifle High School graduate, were also in the 156-player field at the Colorado Open.
Rohrbaugh finished up with a 6-over-par 290, while Antonelli, who played college golf at St. Mary’s University (San Antonio, Texas) and the University of San Diego, carded a 292 for the weekend. Brian Guetz of Scottsdale, Ariz., broke a four-way tie to win the tournament in a one-hole playoff Sunday afternoon. Guetz, John Douma, Boyd Summerhays and Mike Small wrapped up regulation play tied with 7-under-par 277s.Guetz, though, went home with the day’s biggest cash prize – $23,000 – and his second Colorado Open title. His last title was in 1994.The Colorado Open is open to professionals and amateurs with a USGA handicap index of 2.4 or lower.
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The Coal Ridge High School boys soccer team enters the 16-team Class 3A state tournament as the No. 5 seed this week.