Missed it by that much.
Don't know if Don Adams from the 1960s television series Get Smart! ever picked up a golf club, but his infamous one-liner as Agent 86 puts into perspective what Parkersburg High School's Ollie Fankhauser might have been feeling at the conclusion of Wednesday's final round of the West Virginia Junior Amateur Championship played at the Raven Golf Course.
After falling nine strokes behind first-round leader Brian Anania, Fankhauser made a mad dash up the leaderboard in the final round. The difference was only two strokes by the time Fankhauser reached the 18th tee.
"My second shot landed just left of the green then I thought I made my chip shot," Fankhauser said. "I made a 3-footer for par and with how far back I was at the beginning of the day I felt good about being that close."
With Fankhauser waiting in the clubhouse for the final group to complete their round, Anania two-putted the last hole for bogey to secure the one-shot victory over Fankhauser in the 17-18 age division. Fankhauser's final round featured a 2-under-par 70.
The putting game had finally arrived.
"For the past two years, I've been hitting the ball well and reaching greens in regulation," Fankhasuer said. "I talked about it earlier in the day with some people that it's a putting contest. If you look on tour, it's about who putts the best.
"(On Wednesday), I really wanted to drain the putt and make it happen. I can't lie - I putted really well."
Fankhauser's runner-up finish qualifies him for this weekend's inaugural Mid-Atlantic Invitational at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va. The West Virginia team is comprised of Fankhauser, Hurricane's Anania, Taylor Green and Aaron Barna, Nitro's Clark Priddy, Wheeling's Marshall Hone and Shayne Wilson and Pineville's Evan Muscari.
"We get to play competitive matches in a couple of different formats," Fankhauser noted. "I've heard it will be lots of fun. Plus, we have a good set of players."
Upon his return to the Mountain State, Fankhauser turns his attention to the West Virginia Amateur qualifier being held Thursday at Greenhills County Club in Ravenswood. That's the same course where he placed third during a stop along the Top Flite Junior Tour.
"In a qualifier, you can't overthink - you can't think about a magic score," Fankhauser said. "You have to play hard and post the lowest possible score."
The mindset differs from his experience at the West Virginia Open held last month at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling.
"I missed the cut and just didn't get the job done at the West Virginia Open, but it helped watching some of those guys," Fankhauser said.
By making this event such a huge spectacle, are we encouraging athletes to be "pumped-up" in order to hit the long ball and please the masses?
Contact Kerry Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org