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South Valley Riverton Journal

Riverton golfer part of team to win national PGA Jr. League Championship

Dec 13, 2021 02:26PM ● By JJ Thomson

Team Utah takes photos with Gov. Spencer Cox in honor of the team’s national jr. league championship. (Photo courtesy Governor’s office)

By JJ Thomson | [email protected]

One appearance was all it took for Team Utah to win their first National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship. Team Utah, consisting of the top eight 11–14-year-olds from the state, took their No. 3 seed into the tournament, where they defeated Team Connecticut 7.4-4.5 to win the title.

One of the junior golfers, 14-year-old Jaxon Erickson, is a Riverton resident and teamed with Jordan Ofahengaue, 11, from Lehi, who swung the match in Utah's’ favor on the Par-3 16th hole, when he rolled in a 15-footer to put them one up and eventually win the title. 

Utah Captain Tele Wightman, PGA, said after the match, “Oh my goodness, it was just amazing. You have got Oklahoma, Florida, Connecticut … such good teams, but we really believed in ourselves and felt like we had a team that could get it done. Then you are watching it and you think, this could be happening. The shots they pulled off towards the end, it’s amazing.”

“I feel really good, I feel like, I think it is crazy because there is like 64,000 kids, and 10 of us (including their coaches) are all here, and we won. So that is really crazy,” Wightman said. 

The National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship was held in Scottsdale. Arizona at the Grayhawk Golf Club. This is the 9th PGA JR league tournament, after vacating the 2020 event due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Grayhawk has hosted the even since 2016 and will also host the 2022 even before a new venue is selected.

For Erickson, his love of the sport came early on, after his father started playing in a men’s league and wanted his son to experience the sport as well. 

“I started when I was three, with those plastic clubs, when my mom and dad got me those,” he said. “And I just started swinging in the backyard and the front yard and then my dad would take me over to Glenmoor Golf Course and I would just chip and put forever. It was just really fun.”

Glenmoor is his preferred course, but he chose to play this PGA Jr. League with his friends at Thanksgiving Point.

In addition to playing golf, Erickson is also involved in basketball, like his father and grandfather, he currently plays shooting and point guard. Aside from his family, another idol of his is former Masters Champion, Jordan Spieth.

Erickson comes from a family of athletes. 

His Grandfather, Gary Erickson, was a high-school basketball star at West High and 1970 High School All-American who played at Utah State from 1971 through 1975. His father, Tim Erickson, played basketball at Granger High and went on to also play at Salt Lake Community College from 1997 through 1999 and then Idaho State from 1999 through 2001. He was an all-conference guard in 2001 for the Big Sky.

It continues with his siblings too as Erickson is not the only national champion in his family. One of his older sisters, Kylie Erickson, is a three-time 6A state championships in drill (2013 – 2015) at Copper Hills (plus two additional years as an assistant coach). She was also an NCAA Dance Champion at Utah Valley University in 2017 and is the current Azurette head coach at Copper Hills.

His other sister, Mackenzie Erickson, is also a two-time 6A state champion in drill at Copper Hills (2017, 2018) and currently on the dance team at Utah Valley University where they won another NCAA dance championship in 2020. 

Erickson’s team was recently honored by Gov. Spencer Cox in the Rotunda of the Utah State Capitol Building.