CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- George Washington junior Kyle Bird shot a 76 at the West Virginia Class AAA Region 3 golf championships at Berry Hills Country Club on Tuesday.
However, the Patriots needed more than just one good score on their home course to earn an eighth consecutive trip to the State Tournament.
That's where GW fell short.
Bird qualified as an individual for the State Tournament, set for Oct. 8-9 at Oglebay Resort's Robert Trent Jones Course in Wheeling. However, the Patriots received no better score than an 85 from its other three to finish fourth, nine strokes behind regional champion Princeton's 239.
Drew Call shot an 85, Harry Basile - who won the Mountain State Athletic Conference championship earlier this season - shot an 87, and Matt Nelson shot a 90 on a course that requires local knowledge that the Patriots, presumably, had.
"Extremely disappointed," George Washington Coach B.J. Calabrese said.
"Nature of golf is, you never know from day-to-day, hole-to-hole what you're going to do. I never anticipated we'd have like two scorers 85, 87, then you look and we finish four strokes out of second place."
The Tigers rode a strong performance from Tyler Hillyer, who shot a 74 to finish as the tournament's medalist. Will Hickman shot an 82, Jared Porter an 83 and Andrew Wilson a 95. Four players per team compete with the highest score thrown out.
Shady Spring's 244 was one stroke ahead of Greenbrier East for a State Tournament berth.
Hillyer will play in the State Tournament for the first time and became the first Princeton player since J.J. McPherson in 2010 to qualify. McPherson earned All-State three years ago, shooting a 159 to finish fourth.
"Even with the great conditions, every shot is a battle," Hillyer said. "You can't just walk up and try to smack it down the fairway. There's trouble everywhere. We all played well."
Hillyer had seven bogeys and three birdies. Most importantly, he had no double bogeys.
"I didn't make many mistakes," Hillyer said. "I put the driver away a few times, kept it in the bag, just played smart."
Shady Spring's Drew Green shot an 80 for his team's best score, giving the Tigers their second consecutive State Tournament berth since moving to Class AAA in 2012. Shady Spring finished sixth at the State Tournament last year.
As for the Patriots, Calabrese will have one player - Bird -play next week. In 2007, George Washington had only one player, Andrew Skeens, qualify for the State Tournament. Skeens shot a 179 that year.
"We started as a team, and I know they have my back when I play bad," Bird said. "I've got theirs when they play bad. We try to stay together and keep each other positive and motivate each other."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstev...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.