Wharton High junior Griffin Fuchs likes being "king of the mountain" on the Wildcats' golf team. He has averaged fewer than 39 strokes per round, leading the way for a young team that has seven juniors and two sophomores.
Instead of naming a No. 1 golfer as most teams do, Wharton coach Marcie Scholl has a system set up for any of her nine players to earn a spot in the next match's lineup. So far, Fuchs has been pushing for the No. 1 spot all season on a team where every match determines where you sit for the next.
"As hard as these boys work, I think everyone deserves their shot," Scholl said. "Every week I send all of my players out and whoever shoots the best is how they'll play the next week."
Fuchs came out of the preseason practices as the No. 1 and said the team competition has helped push him to play his best golf and is a big part of the Wildcats' early success. Fuchs has four birdies on the young season and has shot 37 three times.
"I try to get better every time I go out there," Fuchs said. "This team has a lot of competitive people and we push each other."
Fuchs maintained his position after opening with a 37 in the Wildcats' first match - a 165-195 win against Freedom - on Sept. 1. Fuchs hasn't had the top spot every match, slipping a little with a 43 in a loss to Plant on Sept. 10, but he said the competitiveness of the match-by-match playoff helps all of his teammates excel.
"It keeps me focused," Fuchs said of the constant position battle. "You can't slack off, because you are always fighting for your spot.
"I think it helps our team because there is no taking a match off against a weaker opponent because you won't have your spot the next week."
Scholl said Fuchs is a tough read on the golf course, calling the junior "stoic" and saying his game has improved, especially in his ability to stay focused.
"I never know how he's doing," Scholl said. "He shows no emotion out there; with him it's all business."
"I'm happy with my score some days, but not always with how I shoot," Fuchs said. "I know I can always do better.
"I think I try to forget about bad shots. Not let them get bigger or compile. That was just that hole, let's move on."