SSilo Ridge Country Club in Bolivar, Mo. hosted the Class 4 2019 MSHSAA boys’ state golf tournament Monday, May 13 and Tuesday, May 14.
Yesterday, the Bruins took home a sixth place finish in Class 4 of the tournament with a combined score of 626, 312 on day 1 and 314 on day 2. With two players tying for 18th, the best ranking out of the five Bruin golfers, senior Keith Schaezler and sophomore Sean Minor are proud of the effort the team put into the championship.
“Our guys are young, our two freshmen [Chase Knorr and William Hose] and our junior, Ryan [Choe], gained a lot of experience playing in their first state championship these last few days,” Minor said. “I am not happy with my performance, but I am very proud of the fight these guys put out.”
A young team can have its perks, the Bruins will only be graduating one senior this season and will likely have another shot at an appearance at state in the following years.
“I’m excited to see how the team plays next year,” Schaezler said, looking for a top 20 finish in his final rounds of high school. “Having [four out of five] guys returning next year is a great omen, I believe, as the good relationships this year can only grow next year and can help guys understand where they stand on the team and know what their role is.”
Golf is a mental game and players are constantly struggling under the pressures they place on themselves, especially at such a high-stakes event as the state championship. Looking forward, Minor understands the necessity for drive and self confidence and is looking forward to working on the mental toughness necessary to excel on the golf course.
“I need to work on my mental game,” Minor said, “and find that killer instinct to go out and dominate like I know I can.”
The state course, Silo Ridge Country Club, was in good shape when the Bruins battled for a repeat title early Monday morning. Although slightly soggy from rainy weather, the greens left small margins for error. Knorr found the first day to be the most difficult and sought to improve his score the second day, going from an 84 to a 77.
“On the first day, the course was playing hard,” Knorr said. “Pins were in tough locations and the frost across the course slowed the ball down.”
Coach Austin Reed was proud of his team although the Bruins were disappointed with the outcome. Reed and assistant coach Stewart Smith provided the five players with advice and mental preparations going into the tournament.
“We just talked about it [the tournament] a lot,” Reed said. “We talked about the course, we talked about strategy, we talked about mental game, we tried to kind of anticipate all of the scenarios that we were going to see unfold in the tournament.”
Both Hose and Knorr tied for 41st place with a two-day total of 161 and Choe finished tied for 60th with a combined score of 166. The Bruins finished 15 strokes off of first place, taken by Jackson High School, a team from Jackson, Mo.
“Personally I’m looking to fight for another state title. Winning as a team last year was definitely something I’ll never forget, and now I know it’s my time to go out and lead our team to another title,” Minor said. “Talent is not the issue neither for myself or the rest of my team. We’ve proven that in several instances this year. I want to leave state next year knowing I gave great effort, executed my game plan and fought till the end. Until then, well, I guess I’ve got a chip on my shoulder.”
Despite having graduated three seniors from the varsity squad in 2018, the team managed a second place finish at districts with a score of 326 and a 30-stroke improvement the following week to take the sectional title leading up to the event.
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