Golf: Cool the new key to Gabe Aprati’s approach
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media July 16, 2014 9:50PM
Updated: August 18, 2014 10:00AM
There are certain days when you just tip your cap to an opponent.
Over the weekend, Gabe Aprati knew when he, pure and simple, got beat.
Shooting a 3-under-par round at the Lockport Amateur Open Division, Aprati seemed in a good position to take the title. But on this day, Wheaton’s Steve Kois had the last laugh, shooting a course-record 62 at Broken Arrow Golf Club.
“I shook his hand. He deserved that win,” Aprati said with a laugh. “I think that’s the lowest round I’ve ever seen competing against me. He had his day. That’s unbeatable.”
Aprati, a Providence grad heading into his senior season at Illinois Wesleyan, hadn’t played at Broken Arrow since his high school days as a Celtic. He cited his driver and putting as a strength to help him to a second-place finish at the one-day event.
Aprati finished an hour before Kois, then had to sit in the clubhouse and wait. Let the rumors fly.
“I knew he could give me a run, but I thought I was sitting pretty good,” Aprati said. “As I’m playing, the rumor was that he was 7-under through 11 holes. You just play and see what happens.”
The second-place finish was a disappointment, but for Aprati, he never has felt stronger about his overall game.
During his three years at Illinois Wesleyan, Aprati’s average strokes has decreased each and every year, including a 74.3 stroke average during his junior campaign.
Yes, the improvement has come from a refocus on the fundamentals, especially with some putting lessons, but it is also something far more simple. Aprati is zeroing in on staying calm through the good and bad.
“It’s a discipline thing, working at getting better, being more consistent,” Aprati said. “In the past if I made a bogey, I got really flustered. Now, I’m trying to stay in the moment for positive or negative. These last six months, I’ve found a new level in my game. I’m working as hard as I ever had.”
With a busy summer tournament schedule almost over, Aprati is starting to turn his focus to his senior season at Illinois Wesleyan.
Including Aprati, the Titans return their top five golfers from last season and are looking to make some noise at the Division III level.
Coming in ranked No. 1 at last season’s Division III championship, Wesleyan finished 22nd overall last year.
“We want a national championship more than anything,” Aprati said. “We had a rough first day last year, but we’ve got the same five golfers back, so hopefully, we can put it together.”
Post-college? He’s got options too, namely joining a pro golf circuit or a halfway decent backup plan: take the LSAT and go to law school.
“It’s kinda up in the air, and I wanted to see how my year went,” Aprati said. “I’ve got some choices.”