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Nirider paces RHS squad in season-opening tourney
Riverton High School golfer Oakley Hackleman lined up a putt at the Riverton High Invitational. Photo by Bruce Tippets

Nirider paces RHS squad in season-opening home tourney

Aug 19, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

Aaron Nirider missed the title of his home tournament by just one stroke.

Aaron Nirider opened his senior year finishing one stroke off the pace on Friday afternoon at the Riverton Invitational golf tournament to end up in a three-way tie for second.

The Riverton High School golfer tied Austin Hinchey of Kelly Walsh and Nathan Greene of Green River. Nirider had rounds of 73 and 75 for a 148. The 36-hole tournament was held at the par-72 Riverton Country Club.

"It's my home course. I knew that I could play that good," Nirider said.

"I just had to go out and do it. I play this course just about every day, so I know where to hit the ball and where to not hit the ball."

Greene played rounds of 72 and 76 for a 148. Hinchey put together two 74s for a 148.

Powell's Bowen Prestwitch won the Riverton Invitational in scores of 71 and 76 for a 147. Prestwitch is the Class 3-A defending champion.

"It was a great foursome," RHS coach Lars Flanagan said of the final grouping. "Aaron competed and played well."

Nirider qualified for the tournament as the No. 3 golfer for the Wolverines.

"I'm really content at getting second," Nirider said. "The kid from Powell played good on Thursday. He played well in the tournament."

Nirider has been in the final group before in his high school career.

"A couple of years ago, it was pretty nerve-racking playing in the final group," Nirider said.

"I'm used to it. I took some pressure off myself. I know that I can play this course well."

Nirider collected birdies on No. 15 and No. 18 to finish in his high position.

"It was good to get some birdies in there," Nirider said.

Nirider believes his game will keep him in most of the tournaments the rest of the season.

"My golf game feels good," Nirider said. "I just have to keep playing hard and focus in on my game."

Team chase

The Wolverines finished second in the team standings. RHS ended its home tournament with a 657.

"We need three solid scores," Nirider said. "If we have three scores in the 70s and two scores in the 80s, then we will be fine."

Jackson won the title by shooting a 628. Evanston was third at 668. Jackson is in the Class 3-A division, and Evanston and RHS both play in the Class 4-A West conference. The Wolverines won the conference title last year.

"Jackson is probably the best 3-A team in the state," Flanagan said.

Nirider and his teammates will play in Gillette on Monday and Tuesday.

"The Gillette course is a tough one," Nirider said. "It's long. When I played there a couple of years ago, the weather was bad. You never know how it's going to play."

RHS scores

Riverton's No. 1 golfer for the tournament, Preston Ward, started the tournament coming in at 87. Ward bounced back for a 78 on the final 18 holes for a 165.

Lars Becker ended the tournament with scores of 85-78--163.

Oakley Hackleman posted an 83 on the first day. The RHS golfer had to withdraw on the second day because of the flu.

Isaiah Valerio scored a pair of 98s for a total of 196 to round out the RHS varsity team.

"I like the way Preston played and it was the best tournament score by Lars," Flanagan said.

Whitney Aschenbrenner was sixth after having her scorecard read a 100 on the first day and a 95 on the second for a 195 for the RHS girls

"We have had only three organized practices before our tournament," Flanagan said. "I was very happy with the way the girls played."

Other scores by the RHS girls were from Lincoln Horath (108-109--217), Shaylee Cunningham (125-112--237) and Kendra Miller (130-129--259).

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