After Saturday's round at the Northern Virginia Amateur Golf Championship, Robert Black Jr. scoffed at Scott Inman's three-shot lead and said not to worry, three strokes can go "just like that."

True to his word, Black, 22, of Army Navy (fairfax) had wiped out Inman's advantage by the ninth hole yesterday at Chantilly and went on to shoot 71 to win the tournament with a three-round total 214. Inman Finished at 215.

"I played 17 holes of excellent golf today," Black said. "The difference out there was that I made the putts and he (Inman) didn't."

Inman, who putted well Saturday when Black didn't, missed seven putts within seven feet on the last round.

"This is by far the worst putting round I've played," said Inman, who competes for LSU. "The greens here are slow and a little grainy.

"But i thought i'd win this thing, or else I wouldn't have come out. But you don't win with a 75."

By the 13th hole, Black led Inman by three strokes, then a double-bogey 5 on the 160-yard No. 14 cut his lead to one. At the 15th, Black's approach shot landed in a dirt and grass culvert.

"That was a horrible lie," said Black, who plays for the University of Florida. "I remember thinking, 'I just have to reach the green: If I blow it we have a tie.'"

He chipped the ball to within 18 inches of the cup and said, "That was the big save."

John Haddock, who will be a senior at Annandale in the fall, played with Inman and Black and finished third at 219. Going into the final round, those three were the only golfers with any reasonable chance of winning the tournament. But Black took Haddock out of the picture quickly by birdieing the first two holes.

Despite having played poorly, Inman still had an opportunity to pull even on the 17th. His approach shot stopped within 10 feet of the pin, but he missed his birdie putt, letting out a scream as the ball flirted with the cup. He dropped to his knees after Black sank a two-footer for par.

"What can I say?" said Inman. "Robbie played great all day."