COLUMBIA — Emilio Cuartero shook his head and looked down at the 18th green as if it had wronged him.
Just a few minutes earlier, as his putt to win slid by, Cuartero's bigger-than-life smile transformed into something somber. The fist pumps he saved for big moments were replaced by stoic nods and consoling hugs from his teammates.
The No. 31 Missouri men's golf team continued its record-setting season Tuesday, placing six golfers in the top-11 and wrapping up a 19-shot victory over Austin Peay State at the Mizzou Intercollegiate at The Club at Old Hawthorne.
The Tigers used second-place finishes from juniors Emilio Cuartero and Hunter Kraus to finish with a three-round total of 12-under-par 852.
Columbia College, in its first season with a golf program, struggled through a tough final round and finished in last place in the 12-team field.
"We compounded a lot of mistakes and didn't have the best decision-making," Columbia College coach John Utley said. "At the same time, it was good to see where we kind of stand at this point."
Hunter Parrish led the Cougars with a 60th-place finish, recording a three-round total of 243 (78-80-85).
Missouri is set to begin the three-day Southeastern Conference championship April 19 at the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club in Sea Island, Ga.
After losing then gaining back a two-shot lead in Tuesday's final round of the Mizzou Intercollegiate at The Club at Old Hawthorne, the Missouri junior faced a four-foot putt on the 18th hole to secure at least a share of medalist honors with Austin Peay State's Dustin Korte.
As soon as the putter face met the ball with an audible ping, Cuartero's face fell. The ball rolled past the hole on the right side, inducing groans from his teammates and the fans that lined the cart path behind the green.
When Korte made his putt from a similar distance seconds later, Cuartero's quest was over. He had failed to become the third Missouri player in as many years to score an individual championship in the team's home event.
"Stuff happens sometimes," Cuartero said, with his friendly smile back in place later outside of the clubhouse at Old Hawthorne.
Stuff seems to happen to Cuartero more than most. He plays the game with a self-described "child's mentality," mixing emotions with a penchant for bold shot making. When one of those aggressive shots goes awry, Cuartero has learned to let it go and comes out firing on the next swing.
The results have been varied.
In this week's event, a 19-shot Missouri victory that gave the team a school record sixth season win, Cuartero's shot making was brilliant during Monday's opening two rounds. He scored a tournament best 4-under-par 68 to grab the lead after 18 holes.
After a short lunch break, he returned to the par-72 layout and picked up right where he had left off, making five birdies on the way to a 3-under 69 and a two-shot lead over Korte heading into Tuesday's final round.
"Emilio played really well yesterday," Missouri coach Mark Leroux said. "He put himself in a position to win the tournament and that's all you can really ask for."
But Tuesday, Cuartero shot 4-over for the first 11 holes, opening with a bogey and suffering a double bogey on the par-4 11th hole. Suddenly trailing Korte and teammate Hunter Kraus by two strokes, Cuartero carded birdies on the 12th and 13th holes to even things up again.
"I started scoring a little better on the second nine," Cuartero said. "I gave myself some opportunities."
When Cuartero missed on getting his third win of the season on the final hole, his teammates took turns walking over to him and offering encouraging words.
"It's a process," said Kraus, who tied with Cuartero for second. "I told Emilio that if he keeps putting himself in position like that, he'll keep having his chances. He knows that."
As his teammates walked away to grab a post-tournament meal inside of the clubhouse, Cuartero lingered next to the 18th green. He stared off into the distance and shook his head periodically.
After a couple of minutes, he walked back toward the hole and removed the flagstick, dropping his ball at the same spot he had missed from when it had counted. A quick five seconds later, he hit the ball.
When the putt dropped, the Spaniard nodded his head and smiled, putting the flagstick back in with a bit too much force. He turned around and walked briskly toward the clubhouse, ready for whatever comes next.