Aug 14, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorRiverton 13-year-old Easton Paxton made an eagle putt on the final hole Thursday to win the Wyoming State Junior Amateur golf tournament in Jackson.
The putt capped off a 36-hole tournament victory for Paxton. The tournament was held at the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club.
The Riverton eighth-grader finished the tournament with scores of 68 and 71 for a two-day total of 139, five under par. The par for the golf course is 72.
"They were all really surprised," said Paxton about the crowd reaction when he won the title. "They didn't think that I could do it as a 13-year-old. They all came to watch to see if I could do it. That made it even cooler to make that putt in front of them."
Paxton started off the par-5 18th hole with a solid drive right on the fairway.
"It was probably 320 yards," Paxton said.
Paxton put his second shot in the green and in position for the win. "My second shot I hit around 190 yards and about 18 feet from the hole," Paxton said.
When Paxton putted the ball he knew the ball had a good chance to go in.
"The putt broke up four feet to go in," Paxton said. "About halfway there, I thought that it could go in."
Andrew Garner of Jackson placed second with scores of 68 and 72 for a 140. Garner lives in Arizona for nine months out of the year then lives in Jackson over the summer.
Sheridan's Kamrin Allen finished third. Allen had rounds of 73 and 69 for a 142. Allen has won the last two Class 4-A state golf titles. Allen is going to the University of Wyoming in the fall to play for coach Joe Jensen in Laramie.
"The field was the best golfers in Wyoming from all over the state," Paxton said. "I knew the field was going to be pretty close."
The Jackson course measures 7,168 yards. Paxton said there are a lot of deep bunkers and water on the course.
Paxton played in a junior tournament in the second week of July in San Diego, Calif., and finished eighth out of 181 players in the 13-14 age group at the Morgan Run golf course.
"On the final day, I was five under after 10 holes and only one off the lead," Paxton said. "I then finished at two under, so I kind of played bad from there. "
Paxton collected scores of 69, 73 and 69.
"That is the best golf competition in the tournament in the world in my age group," Paxton said.
A Utah golfer won the title in Paxton's age division.
"The Utah player is a good golfer," Paxton said. "We have battled it out four times. He beat me twice, and I have beaten him twice."
In the last week in July, Paxton played in the U.S. Kids World Championship in Pinehurst, N.C., and finished 13th out of 144 golfers in the 13-year-old age division. Paxton scored a 72, 77 and a 70 for his 54-hole tournament.
"The last day I had a good day," Paxton said. "Those courses are all famous. It was so hard."
In the middle of July, Paxton played in a Las Vegas tournament. Paxton finished sixth out of 44 golfers. His three rounds in Las Vegas were 77, 76 and 74.
"It was a very tough course In Las Vegas," Paxton said.
He thanked P.J. Thomas and Zach Waxler for playing with him this summer at the Riverton Country Club.
Thomas is headed to play golf in the fall at University of Wyoming. "I'm really happy for them," Paxton said. "They deserve it. They work hard at it. It's good for them."
Waxler is playing golf this fall at Utah State University.
"I think that I owe some of my success to them because they started me out at a young age," Paxton said. "We just got along great. They just took me under their wing and taught me a lot about the game. I really appreciate them doing that."
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