Matt Echelmeier tries brother's old role for Rock Bridge golf

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 | 9:59 p.m. CDT; updated 11:20 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Rock Bridge defeated Hickman in match play Wednesday at the Country Club of Missouri.

COLUMBIA — Matt Echelmeier hopes he can be the kind of teammate his brother was.

The Rock Bridge sophomore golfer stood at the first tee box at the Country Club of Missouri with a new yellow Titleist hat to go along with his yellow striped golf shoes. Echelmeier and the Bruins were taking on Hickman in a match play event. Echelmeier tees off second for the Bruins, a spot once held by his older brother, Will Echelmeier.

Matt Echelmeier is 5-foot-10 and says he weighs close to 140-pounds.

"All muscle," Echelmeier said with a smile.

His brother, Will Echelmeier, a freshman on the Missouri golf team, is about six inches taller and 50 pounds heavier.

"He (Matt) just hasn't hit his growth spurt quite as early as Will did," the brothers' father, Jeff Echelmeier, said.

Despite the difference in size, the Echelmeier brothers have a lot in common. They both enjoy golfing, basketball, video games and whatever else they can turn into a competition. They both have blond hair and enjoy wearing different colored golf accessories such as shoes, hats and belts.

"I'm not one of the most stylish guys," Matt Echelmeier said. "Will has about four or five pairs of shoes, close to 10 hats and probably four or five belts."

The brothers competed for Rock Bridge last season as teammates for the first time in their lives. Their competitive nature was sidelined when they were wearing the same polo.

"I like to think I'm better than him at everything and he thinks the exact opposite," Matt Echelmeier said. "But being on a team together was awesome."

Will Echelmeier was the star senior and one of the team's vocal leaders. Matt Echelmeier was the talented, quiet freshman playing on varsity. Will Echelmeier acted as a mentor, and the brothers got along very well, said Rock Bridge coach Doug Daniels.

"They never seemed to fight or argue, no sibling gripe or anything," Daniels said. "They're both real smart, measured kids." 

Jack Knoesel, a sophomore, also enjoyed his lone season with Will Echelmeier and said the brothers were inseparable. Knoesel said Will Echelmeier helped all the younger players and not just his brother.

"I remember struggling on the back nine during (state) qualifiers last season and Will pulled me aside and just talked to me and told me to play my game," Knoesel said. "We're still good friends and golf together whenever we can."

Matt Echelmeier, Knoesel, and the rest of the Bruins defeated Hickman on Wednesday, winning all five individual matches.

Despite his unimposing size, Matt Echelmeier and his coach are happy with the golfer he is developing into. "He's getting older, bigger, and stronger," Daniels said. "He'll be better next year than he is this year."

Matt Echelmeier is still trying to embrace his new role as one of the top golfers and team leaders.

"It's definitely tough," Matt Echelmeier said. "What I try to do, kind of like my brother (showed me), is just be nice and supportive (to my teammates)."

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