Ten-foot birdie putts can be a little spooky. Just ask Dave Tacha.
"I had six birdie putts within 10 feet and didn't make any," Tacha divulged after the Lawrence Invitational/Sunflower League golf tournament Thursday at Alvamar. "That really eats away at you. I think I'm in the Twilight Zone when I'm putting."
Despite the grief on the greens, Tacha shot an 82, and teammates Jake Hawkins (79), Ron Shaver (81) and Max Spann (84) helped the Lions take fourth place in the league and seventh in the 22-team invitational.
Matt Gudenkauf added a 91 and Britt Bieri a 92 for Lawrence.
It was Hawkins' first tournament round in the 70s this season.
"In practice, I've been playing pretty well. I've been hitting the ball better than my tournament scores have shown," Hawkins noted. "For the team, it's been the same way. We've been practicing well, but in the tournaments, we don't score."
Shawnee Mission East won the Sunflower League competition, and Overland Park Aquinas claimed the Lawrence Invitational crown.
SM East totaled 321 strokes to win league and was followed by Olathe East and SM Northwest (325 each) and Lawrence (326).
Aquinas' 308 total was easily best in the invitational field. Blue Valley Northwest (317) was second, followed by Blue Valley North (317), SM East (321) and Washburn Rural (324).
"When you shoot a team total of 308," Lawrence coach Ron Commons said, "you walk away with an awful lot of medals."
Manhattan's Mark Sears shot a 74 to win the invitational individual competition, but three Aquinas players placed in the top 10 -- Mike Huguelet second (75), Ryan North seventh (77) and Curt McLaughlin 10th (78).
Jeff Lynn shot a 75 and Ben Hendricks a 76 to give SM East a 1-2 finish in the league's individual scoring.
The Lions' showing, Commons said, could have been better but could have been worse.
"Jake (Hawkins) has been playing better as the year has gone along," Commons said, "and an 81 by Ron Shaver is pretty nice."
Tacha, however, said he was capable of playing -- or at least scoring -- better.
"I hit the ball real well," Tacha said. "I just can't score."
The reason? A half-dozen birdie putts that didn't fall.
"I had a couple that were five feet," Tacha said.
And it's not a recent problem, he added.
"Everybody's trying to help me. I've been told 12 different things by 12 different people," Tacha said. "I appreciate it. Most of the time I've been short. I just can't seem to get the ball to the hole."
That was a problem for Hawkins on one hole. He missed a 12-foot birdie putt when the ball stopped an inch short of the cup.
Still, Hawkins couldn't complain about his 79. Or could he?
"I'm happy with breaking 80," Hawkins said. "But I feel I should have been doing that all the time."
Tacha, meanwhile, was hoping his putting problems might be solved.
"I made a 15-footer for par on 18," he said. "Maybe that will get my confidence going heading into regionals."
The Lions will take part in an eight-team regional Monday at Lake Shawnee.