Patrick Byrne and Matthew Mueller took very different paths to reach the same destination Tuesday.
The Rockhurst senior and Vianney junior were named co-state champions at the Class 4 State Golf Tournament at Rivercut Golf Course.
Byrne, who was seven shots out of the lead after Monday’s first round, made just one par on Rivercut’s back nine. He birdied Nos. 10, 12, 13, 14 and 16 and bogeyed Nos. 11, 15 and 17 before finishing with a par on the par-5 18th hole.
“It was unreal really. That back nine was crazy,” Byrne said. “I wasn’t even thinking of winning. I knew it was close in the team event so I tried to get as good a score as I could.”
Playing two groups ahead of the final group, Byrne said he had no idea what was going on behind him as he finished with the best round of the day at 2-under 70.
In that final group, Mueller rallied from a three-shot deficit after the opening round. While his 2-over 74 was two shots higher than Monday’s round, Mueller birdied 17 and 18 to vault into a tie for the lead. His 74 came after he was 4-over through three holes.
Mueller just missed an eagle putt at the 18th that would have given him first place alone, instead tapping in for birdie to close his round.
“It definitely helped to know where I stood,” Mueller said of playing in the final group. I heard a number (that would put him in the lead) and I made two birdies the last two holes.”
Kearney’s Adam Lechner, who held a two-shot lead coming into the day after an opening 69, faded to sixth with a final-round 80.
In the team competition, Timberland shot a 309 Tuesday to edge hard-charging Rockhurst by two shots.
The Wolves got a 1-under 71 from Zachary Cutler, who finished third individually, to help them wrap up an undefeated season.
Timberland finished at 619, while defending Class 4 champion Rockhurst was at 621 after firing a tournament-best 304 Tuesday to move from fifth to second.
“This has been our goal all year,” Timberland coach Kyle Lindquist said. “This group has won all their tournaments all year, and today was the same thing they’ve done all year. Our kids put up good scores like they always have.”
Kickapoo’s John Fuchs finished in a tie for 10th to lead the local contingent, backing up Monday’s 76 with a 75. Fuchs became the first Kickapoo golfer to earn all-state honors since Joe Atkisson in 2010.
“I was just trying to finish as all-state,” Fuchs said. “I left a few strokes out there, but I’m pretty happy. It’s a good way to end the season.”
Fuchs led Kickapoo to a sixth-place finish in the team race. The Chiefs’ two-day total of 644 (323-321) was four shots behind Park Hill South for fifth.
“We played fantastic,” Kickapoo coach Ron Yocum said. “We didn’t fold under the gun, and that’s all you can ask. I thought if we could finish fourth that would be above and beyond. But to finish sixth in the state, my gosh — how great is that? I can’t be happier. We’re walking in some tall cotton.”
Palmer Harrison tied for 36th (159), Mitchell Kiser tied for 62nd (166), Taylor Dade finished in a tie for 80th (172) and Freeman Lightner tied for 83rd (174) to round out Kickapoo’s scores.
Ozark’s Miles Aduddell tied for 13th at 152 and was the area’s only other all-state finisher.
Republic’s Dylan Bekemeier, the defending Class 3 champion, shot his second consecutive 77 to finish in a tie for 18th and one shot out of all-state status.