2 CU recruits place in top 6 at boys Junior America’s Cup, with Parker Paxton runner-up and Wes Erling 6th; this a week after a CSU recruit won Girls Junior Americas Cup; Colorado finishes 10th as a team at BJAC
By Gary Baines – 8/3/2023
If nothing else, the boys and girls Junior America’s Cup tournaments have demonstrated there is plenty of promise looking ahead in college golf for Colorado-based programs.
Last week at the Girls Junior America’s Cup in British Columbia, incoming Colorado State University player Kara Kaneshiro, a two-time Hawaii State Amateur champion, won the individual competition at the tournament, which features some of the best female junior players in the western U.S., Mexico and Canada. (And, it should be noted, Hadley Ashton of Erie, who has committed to play her college golf at the University of Wisconsin, tied for fifth in the 72-golfer field.
Then on Friday at the boys Junior America’s Cup in Sparks, Nev., two University of Colorado recruits came up big. Not only did Wes Erling of Colorado Springs, who will join the Buffs in the fall, tie for sixth place individually out of 72 players, but Parker Paxton of Riverton, Wyo., who plans to become a CU golfer in a year, shared the runner-up spot.
Paxton, who recently swept the 2023 Wyoming State Golf Association Match Play and State Amateur titles, went 70-64-69 for a 10-under-par total, which left him one stroke behind champion Gerardo Gomez of Mexico. In the last two rounds combined, Paxton recorded 13 birdies.
Paxton is not only a three-time 3A state high school individual champion in Wyoming, but the Gatorade Wyoming Boys Basketball Player of the Year last season. Over the years, he’s played a fair amount of competitive junior golf in Colorado. For instance, Paxton has qualified in the Centennial State for the U.S. Junior Amateur two of the last three years. And he’ll compete in this month’s U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills Country Club and Colorado Golf Club.
Meanwhile, Erling posted scores of 71-67-68 in Nevada to end up at 7 under par and four back of Gomez. He chalked up 11 birdies combined the the final two rounds.
Erling led Colorado to a 10th-place team finish in the Junior America’s Cup. Charlie Tucker of Castle Pines ended up 31st individually, Reese Knox of Peyton 38th and Tyler Long of Evergreen 47th.
Also on Thursday in Colorado junior golf, Noah Richmond of Montrose finished third in the AJGA Junior Open at The Bridges presented by the City of Montrose. Richmond’s 4-under-par total (70-69-70) left him two back of winner Brooks Harper of Dallas. Kyle Leydon of Commerce City and Jack Kaul of Grand Junction (tied for seventh) also notched top-10 finishes. SCORES
About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for ColoradoGolf.org since 2009. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates ColoradoGolfJournal.com