His bad is still good
Even without his best game, Kinnaman wins Warrior
This is how good Donny Kinnaman’s golf game has been lately: He could express disappointment in a tournament-winning round.
Kinnaman shot a 2-over-par 73 on Tuesday at Tiara Rado Golf Course, leading the Grand Junction High School boys golf team to a victory at the eight-team Warrior Invitational.
The win was the Tigers’ fourth as a team in five tournaments this season, and it was Kinnaman’s third straight individual win. But the Grand Junction junior criticized his game after failing to break par on the heels of two medalist-winning efforts: 1 under at Bookcliff Country Club and 4 under at The Golf Club at Redlands Mesa.
His round started well Tuesday as he shot 3 under on the Tiara Rado’s front nine. The back nine, however, brought two double-bogeys, and their cause was out of character for Kinnaman. His ball striking is his strong suit, but two errant tee shots led to the double-bogeys.
“Both misses were to the right. I was trying to hit cuts, and they cut too much,” Kinnaman said.
That he still won the tourney by two strokes speaks to the level he’s been playing at.
“You’re going to have good days, and you’re going to have bad days,” Kinnaman said. “And what matters is how good your bad days are.”
Joining Kinnaman as Grand Junction’s three scorers were freshman Trevor Olkowski with a 75 and junior Greg Gibson with a 78.
Course management and composure continue to be the Tigers’ keys to victory, according to coach Tom LeFebre.
“They’re not getting doubles and triples,” LeFebre said of bogeys. “They’re doing a lot better job of minimizing the damage on the bad holes.”
That said, the Tigers survived Kinnaman’s two double-bogeys and a triple-bogey on No. 17 from Olkowski.
LeFebre said Olkowski is an impressive freshman because of his skill level and the maturity he brings to the course.
“He plays like a junior, someone with experience,” LeFebre said.
The coach added Olkowski isn’t playing his best right now, even though his scores are envied by many of his fellow golfers.
Something else for area teams to envy is the depth the Tigers have been displaying in the past two weeks. Gibson continues to crack 80 consistently in the No. 3 spot for Grand Junction, and Ben Volkmann and Richie Wise have been scoring in the low- to mid-80s in the fourth and fifth spots.
Palisade finished third Tuesday as Skyler Miller continues to score in the mid- to upper-70s to lead the Bulldogs. Better luck with his putter Tuesday would have put him in contention for the medalist.
“Skyler probably hit the hole from five feet away four times, and the ball didn’t go in,” Palisade assistant coach Tad Holloway said.
The Bulldogs finished one stroke ahead of Fruita Monument, 244-245, and a big part of that was the 81 shot by Palisade’s No. 2 player, Jeremiah Hughes.
Hughes has come a long way since last season, and Bulldogs coach Jan Norell said Holloway deserves credit for working with Hughes since the spring and changing his swing.
“We made changes and changes and changes, and he worked and worked,” Holloway said of Hughes.
“He bought into the changes,” Norell added.
The same could be said for Palisade’s Trevor Alberts and Joe Lucas, who shot 87 and 86, respectively, Tuesday. Neither played competitive golf until last year, Norell said, and they keep working on their game and improving.
Fruita Monument was led Tuesday by Troy Dangler’s 75, good for a three-way tie for second place.