Mitch Schow has been at the top of his game since age 6. While other kindergartners were wobbling on their training wheels in church parking lots, Schow was busy perfecting his golf strike, competing against 11- and 12-year-olds in local golf leagues.
Golf and competition go hand in hand for the Park City sophomore. Each tournament is just another day of casual golf.
His driving is among the best in the preps business. His short game gets better every day. But Schow stays grounded. When he needs a moment to regroup, he leaves it all behind and heads to the lake for some fly-fishing.
"I just always try to do my best and let things fall where they may," Schow said. "And whatever I do, it happened for a reason, and I can gain from it."
It's a humble approach for a kid who placed fifth at the Class 3A state golf tournament as a freshman, an effort that helped lead Park City to a fifth consecutive team title. But for Schow, winning always has come easily.
"It's old hat for him at this point," longtime coach Kirk Abegglen said. "The real question at this point is, what hasn't he won?"
The USG Junior Amateur Tournament and the Class 3A tournament are on the short list for now.
In early June, Schow carded a 209 over three rounds to win the Junior World Qualifier at Park Meadows Country Club in Park City. He was impressive in the opening two rounds, shooting 67s to jump out to a big lead. But he struggled on the final day, shooting a 77 to squeak out the win.
The effort earned Schow a chance to play some of the world's best young golfers at the Junior World Championships at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. He shot a 229 over three days and missed the cut.
But for Schow, it's all part of the progression.
"I missed the cut, but I know I played well," he said. "Now that I've made it there, it's my goal to just keep getting better."
Since then, he's spent hours on the course perfecting his short game, particularly working the ball from left to right. The extra time has paid off, and Schow heads into his sophomore season ready to lead the Miners to a sixth straight title.
"It's helped my confidence tremendously," Schow said. "But I always have to keep on improving, and not just on one thing."
"He just knows how to get the ball in the hole pretty fast," Abegglen said. "Even better, he's a great teammate, and that makes him more of an asset than people know."