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Paxton edges fellow Riverton golfer Waxler for state match play title

Jun 16, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

Early in the title match, Waxler grabbed the early lead, but Paxton caught fire on the last four holes to win the tournament.

In an all-Riverton final, Easton Paxton outlasted Zach Walker to win the 38th annual Wyoming Match Play Championship.

The three-day tournament was played June 8 at the Green Hills Golf Course in Worland.

Paxton was one up to win the title over Waxler, meaning he led by one hole with no holes left to play. It's the closest possible score in match play withouth going to extra holes.

"For both Easton and Zach to reach the finals against the field they went through is impressive," Riverton Country Club golf pro Steve Johnson said. "There were 30 other really good players in the field."

Riverton's P.J. Thomas lost his bid in the quarterfinals, losing to Chris Bundren.

"It was really cool to see three Riverton players in the top eight," Johnson said.

Final match

"It was one of those matches that you wished they both could have been champions," Johnson said. "They both played unbelievably well to get there, and also in the final match."

Early in the title match, Waxler grabbed the lead, but Paxton caught fire on the last four holes.

In the stretch drive, Paxton birdied No. 15, had an eagle 3 on No. 17 and birdied No. 18.

"Match play is completely different," Johnson said. "It's one hole at a time. It doesn't matter if you get eight strokes on a hole, because you start over on the next hole. It's fun to watch match play."

In the semifinals, Paxton eliminated John Hornbeck.

It took Waxler 20 holes to take care of Chris Bundren.

"The par-5s were reachable for the guys in the tournament," Johnson said. "Some of the par-4s were driveable for those guys. They just made a lot of birdies. Easton and Zach were close to 20-under par for the weekend."

Golfers played 36 holes on the first day. They went 36 holes on the second day before ending it with the 18-hole championship.

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