FRISCO, TEXAS – At the end of the Fall golf season the Riverton Wolverines’ golf team once again found themselves on top of the competition with spectacular play from players like Parker Paxton, Brodie Dale and Kyler Graham. That automatically entered the local golf dynasty at Riverton High School (RHS) into the High School Golf National Invitational at the brand new PGA Frisco Campus on their two championship golf courses: Fields Ranch-East and Fields Ranch-West. 

Down in Texas, as the humidity and heat soared compared to here in Wyoming, Riverton’s Dale, Graham, Patrick Dornblaser and Garrick McDonald all made their way around three golf courses over three days. One of the courses, the Fields Ranch-East, is the future home of the 2027 PGA Championship which means that it was ‘designed to challenge professionals’  so any relatively average score is an accomplishment. 

“Our kids are good golfers but we only really play on Wyoming-type courses,” RHS Golf coach Lars Flanagan said. “One of the biggest adjustments is environmental. It’s very hot, and when you’re playing in 105 degree heat that’s a different animal … and the biggest thing is the grass, it’s very different than grass up here.”

Riverton’s Brodie Dale has grown leaps and bounds on the golf course over the past two seasons (p/c Carl Cote)

Along with Kelly Walsh’s Josh Lane, the five Wyoming golfers took on some of the best high schoolers from 49 states across the country. Paxton was unable to compete in the tournament as he was busy representing Riverton at one of the most famous golf courses in the world, Torrey Pines in California. Paxton ended up finishing tied for 54th with a score of +8.

In the end, only three players out of the field of over 300 shot under par with two of them being from Roswell, Georgia. Charles Beeson (-5) finished first after shooting a two 70s and a 71 during the three days. He was followed by his teammate Nicholas Canitano (-4). 

Dale, who recently won a golf tournament at Lander Golf Course, finished first out of the five Wyomingites with a score of +28. The Riverton star began the week with a strong showing, shooting a 79, but an 88 on the second day at Fields Ranch-East pushed Dale down a bit. His best day came on the third-and-final day, putting up a 77 on the Tribute Golf Links. 

“That course is just a tough course,” Coach Flanagan said about Ranch-East. “All of the kids played worse on that more than any other … But his overall score shows the caliber of his game and how flexible he can be, how creative he can be and just how good he can be.”

Lane (+34) was the next-best Wyomingite, but he was closely followed by Riverton’s Graham (+38) who also had his best day (80) on the third-and-final day at the Tribute Golf LInks. 

“[Graham] had some very good holes and some holes that gave him some trouble,” Coach Flanagan said about his student athlete. “They had to meet somewhere in the middle … But, mentally, he’s getting so much better.”

Dornblaser and McDonald finished lower than the rest but still gained a lot of experience over the course of the week. 

Up next, the High School Golf season begins within the next two weeks, officially beginning on August 7th after dead week. The Riverton Wolverines and Lady Wolverines’ first tournament takes place in Douglas on August 9. Before then, Paxton will be playing in the Junior America’s Cup and then the USG Amateur Championship which he qualified for just a few weeks ago.

BY: Shawn O’Brate