Rock Bridge golfers finish fourth at state tournament

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 | 6:39 p.m. CDT; updated 9:49 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Rock Bridge boys golf team finished fourth at the Class 4 state championship Tuesday in Springfield behind impressive performances from Bruins sophomore golfers Jack Knoesel and Matt Echelmeier, who earned All-State honors. 

In Tuesday's final round, Rock Bridge matched its team total from Monday's first round at 316 for a final score of 632, which put the Bruins 13 strokes behind champion Timberland.

"I thought (going into the tournament) a more realistic approach was third," Rock Bridge coach Doug Daniels said. "We finished fourth, so we were right there."

The tournament, held at Rivercut Golf Course, featured eight five-men teams, and 52 individual golfers who qualified through sectional tournaments. 

Daniels said he was impressed with how his young team stacked up to the best competition in the state. The Bruins sent four sophomores and one junior to the tournament.

"With a young team, you know you're not going to win every tournament," Daniels said. "But we won some tournaments (earlier this season) and finished high in others so it's good for next season."

Knoesel paced the Bruins with a 75 on Tuesday to give him a total of 148 to tie for fourth place in the individual standings. He was two strokes behind individual state champion Patrick Byrne of Rockhurst.

Echelmeier, who was in a tie for third place after the first round, had a rough day Tuesday and finished with an 81 for a 153 total that tied for 15th overall.

With the entire team returning next season, Daniels said he expects to be back at the state tournament again next year. 

"All these boys are pretty hard workers so they'll be out during the summer practicing," Daniels said. "We'll be back next season."

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