May 14, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorP.J. Thomas and Easton Paxton are two Riverton golfers in the field for the U.S. Open qualifying round Wednesday at the Riverton Country Club.
Thomas played his first season this year on the University of Wyoming golf team.
Thomas won the U.S. Open qualifying round last year on his home course, shooting a two-under 70, advancing to a sectional qualifier.
Golfers must have a handicap of 1.5 or lower in order to be in the field.
"Easton and P.J. are both planning on playing well," Riverton Country Club golf pro Steve Johnson said.
Paxton is an eighth-grader at Riverton Middle School.
"The weather has not given him the practice time that he might have hoped for leading into this. His game is sharp," Johnson said.
The golfers start the day at 7:50 a.m. Wednesday with different tee times.
The tournament should be over by 2 p.m.
"Easton would like nothing better than to advance out of here to get into the sectional qualifier," Johnson said. "Easton just needs to relax and play his game. He is putting more pressure on himself than anyone else. This is part of the learning curve for him to become a really good player. He has the expectations to win it."
There are 20 golfers in the field.
Only the winner will advance to the sectional round.
"This is one of the strongest fields ever, if not the strongest, to play in Riverton," Johnson said. "We have golfers from all over."
Lander Valley High School assistant golf coach Michael Watson also is in the field
"The weather is going to have a big influence," Johnson said. "With decent weather, I'm predicting a 68 or lower could win it."
University of Wyoming golfers Kamrin Allen, Brent Baylon, and and Clinton Boutelle also are coming to Riverton to play the qualifier.
Boutelle just graduated from UW and turned pro this week.
Green River High School standout golfer Nathan Green is is hoping for a good showing Wednesday.
He won the Class 4-A golf individual state championship in September in Casper.
Green had two straight scores of 73 at the state tournament for his total of 146.
The 113th U.S. Open is June 13-16 at the East Course of the Merion Golf Club west of Philadelphia.
Field for the U.S. Open qualifier
Kamrin Allen, Sheridan; Pater Marak, Lusk; Brent Baylon, Phoenix, Ariz.; Clinton Boutelle, Cody; Thayne Balling, Cody; Dustin Materi, Sundance; Michael May, Victor, Idaho; Eddie Stewart, Jackson; Stuart Gold, West Haven, Utah; Josh Grube, Casper; Brian Spiva, Casper; Nathaniel Green, Green River; Brant Kummerfeld, Thermopolis; Michael Watson, Lander; Tanner Higham, Logan, Utah; P.J. Thomas, Riverton; Tyler Watts, Pine Haven; Christopher Manning, Cody; Nathan Wilson, Sheridan.
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