In practice last Thursday and Friday, Kapaun Mount Carmel senior golfer A.J. Gebert couldn't even break 40 on nine holes.
But Gebert insisted that he really wasn't playing bad, he just couldn't put his entire game together. All he needed was to string together a few good holes.
Playing the first seven holes in 2-under was just the answer for Gebert on Monday at the Collegiate Invitational as he shot a 2-over par 73 and won medalist honors.
During that span, Gebert hit six greens and four of five fairways.
"I play out here quite a bit, so that also helped the confidence," Gebert said. "Skillwise, everything was in place. Now, it's just getting the confidence there with it, but today went a long way."
Despite the wind, which sometimes made a club or two difference, Gebert was aggressive. On the opening hole, Gebert hit his approach shot to eight feet and made birdie.
Gebert then birdied the par-5 fifth, after going for the green in two — from the intermediate cut.
"In spots I felt like I could be really aggressive," Gebert said. "This being my home course, I was probably more aggressive than other guys."
Gebert's ball-striking off the tee was especially sharp. He hit eight fairways, which often gave him chances to fire at flags.
"I hit the ball really well," Gebert said. "It gave me chances to make birdies."
Staying calm in difficult conditions was something Gebert told himself he had to do before the round.
No better example was on No. 10. After making bogey on eight and nine, Gebert had ten feet for par and snuck it in the side of the hole. He then played the next five holes at even par.
"My ability to not get mad at myself was the best part of my game today," Gebert said. "There were times where I could have gotten down, but I never let myself. I told myself I had to keep going."
The Crusaders won the team title with a 308 — 14 strokes better than Collegiate.
Team results — 1. Kapaun 308 (Gebert 73, Lazzo 77, Cantele 79, Auer 79, Engel 79, Glasgow 80); 2. Collegiate 322 (Morris 76, Munds 80, Morris 81, Vincent 85, LeMaster 90, Sullivan 94). 3. Andover Central 333; 4. Independent 344; 5. Andover 351; 6. Trinity 363
Individual results — 1. Gebert, KMC 73; 2. Morris, Coll 76; 3. Lazzo, KMC 77; 4. Anderson, AC 77; 5. Engel, KMC 79; 6. Cantele, KMC 79; 7. Auer, KMC 79; 8. Munds, Coll 80; 9. Glasgow, KMC 80; 10. Hatfield, Coll 81.