It's on the greens of a golf course where good rounds are separated from great rounds.
Four Valley/Ventura County region golfers found that out the hard way Tuesday during the boys' CIF/SCGA championship at the SCGA Members Club.
Russell Surber of Flintridge Prep, Charlie Smith of Hart, J.T. Kohut of Westlake and Justin Ohye of Calabasas all had a tough time making things happen on the greens and failed to crack the top 10 in a tournament that pits the top players from the Southern, San Diego, City and Central sections.
Surber, Smith and Kohut each shot one-over-par 73, finishing in a tie for 11th, four strokes behind individual champion Brett Bockmann of Palm Desert.
Each was left with a serious case of the 'what-ifs'.
Smith, a senior who three-putted three times, missed five putts from inside of 10 feet.
"I figured I had to make those five-footers and I didn't," said Smith, who made birdies on his first two holes and none after that. "You can't have that at this level of competition. Those are putts you just got to make."
Surber, who got to one-under par after five holes only to make a double-bogey five at the par-three 10th, fought back to one-under par after 16 only to make bogeys on his last two holes.
The Texas-bound senior hopped into a car immediately after finishing his round so he could make it to Arizona in time for the Southwest Amateur Championship, which begins today.
Surber, who will not play junior tournaments any more, was not as distraught about his putting as he was disappointed to end his high school career on a down note.
"It kind of leaves a sour taste," he said. "I would have liked to win but in golf you have to take what you get."
Kohut, a junior, missed birdie putts from inside 10 feet on the ninth and 10th holes, was disgusted with his putting performance.
"I couldn't make anything," he said.
Ohye, a sophomore, made the turn at even par but fell victim to a series of three putts during his second nine, missing twice from inside of five feet.
Palm Desert, which dominated high school golf in Southern California this season, won the team title with a five-player total of 369, good for a 10-stroke victory over Clovis West.
Palm Desert won the Southern Section team title last month and had only one blemish on its record this season--a second place finish to San Marcos in an early-season tournament.
"This is a dream come true for all of us," Bockmann said. "It feels like we are the team of the decade."
City Section champion Granada Hills, led by John Huppert's 77 and Darrin Schneider's 78, shot 413 to finish eighth out of 10 teams.
Chatsworth, the only other team from the region competing, got an 81 by Scott Brokaw and finished last at 426.