One round from qualifying for the California Community College championships, the Ventura College men's golf team suffered through a season-spoiling afternoon in the 36-hole Southern California regionals at SGCA Golf Course in Murrieta.
Sophomore Paul Misko shot a 71 and 71 for a 2-under 142 to tie for the medal, but lost a cardoff to Riverside's Nick Paez for the regional championship.
"Everything inside 100 yards, I wasn't playing my best," said Misko. "That kind of killed me... But I was making a lot of pairs, not doing anything stupid, hitting the ball straight."
The Royal High product advances to the state tournament next week in Beaumont individually, but the moment was spoiled by the Pirates missing their team goal by six strokes.
With three 79s and an 80 in the second round, Ventura finished with a 41-over 761, six strokes behind fourth-place Cypress. The top four teams advanced to next week's championships.
"I've never been an individual player," said Misko. "It's just the fact that our team's not going ruins it."
Santa Barbara, which finished third in the Western State Conference behind Canyons and Ventura, won the regional title with a 744, followed by Orange Coast (749), Riverside (753) and Cypress (755).
After a strong morning, Ventura sat tied for third at 373, three shots behind leaders Santa Barbara. Jonathan Lum shot a 72, Chad Gillespie shot a 74 and Ryan Turner and Dan Dress both shot 78.
But everything evaporated in the afternoon.
"The wind started blowing and the scores started going sky high," said Ventura coach Bob E. Smith. "Everyone thought they had to shoot 72, but it turns out we just had to shoot 77. That means everyone just needed a shot here or there."
Misko, who said the wind blew between 25 and 40 miles per hour "non-stop," started the second round with a par and two bogeys before getting going with an eagle on the fourth hole.
"Paul played his heart out," said Smith. "Other than that, I don't know what to say."
Misko singled out freshman Andy Bennett, who finished the front half of the first round 3-under par.
"We had a good season," said Misko. "Not what we wanted to do, but that's how it goes. That's golf for you."