Joiner swings for U.S. Open slot |

Joiner swings for U.S. Open slot

Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox

A.J. Joiner takes a big step up in competition today.The Roaring Fork High School junior is one of five area golfers headed to U.S. Open Local Qualifier tournaments today.Area golfers include Joiner, Trey Holt of Glenwood Springs, Ironbridge pro Doug Rohrbaugh, Basalt’s Jason McDaniel and Rifle Creek pro Tad Holloway. Four are scheduled to tee off at Walking Stick Golf Course in Pueblo. Holloway is slated to play at Buffalo Run Golf Course in Commerce City.Every golfer who tees it up in a local qualifier is an longshot to make the 105th U.S. Open at Pinehurst in North Carolina, much less compete for the title.While, Joiner wants to gauge where he stands against some elite competition, he isn’t headed to Pueblo for just a nice walk around the Stick.”I’m definitely doing it to get in the U.S. Open, but I am playing against the best players in Colorado, plus other players,” Joiner said. “I have expectations to make it past the local qualifier. I really want to make sectionals and see how I do from there.”More than 9,000 golfers across the country will compete at local qualifiers this spring, a number that is quickly whittled down to less than 600 at the sectionals. The U.S. Open field is then taken from the sectional qualifiers.”I’ve just got to go play my game and not worry about how good the other players are,” Joiner said. “Me worrying is not going to change how good they are.”

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