NEW ULM - Kelton Schmitz was never one to shy away from competition.
The New Ulm senior finished his six-year varsity career by working his way up the highly competitive leaderboard to finish seventh at the Class AA state boy's golf meet last week.
This performance, as well as many other accolades, was one of the reasons Schmitz was named the 2014 All-Journal Boy's Golf Player of the Year. He has now been named to the All-Journal team four times and was the Player of the Year in 2013 and 2014.
"I knew what position I was in, knew how I needed to play and I just needed to go out and play my game," Schmitz said of the competitiveness of state. "It made me want to play, hit the shots that I might not have always tried in trying to get closer and have a better chance at birdies."
This year's state appearance was the second of his career - he competed at state in 2011. He was a big part of the New Ulm boy's golf team that made it to state in 2013, but did not compete due to an injury.
Schmitz's path into golf began when he was 6 years old. Because his friend Colin Huffman's father, Tim, is the professional at the New Ulm Golf and Country Club, Schmitz spent a lot of time there competing with his friends and developing a passion for the game of golf.
"With our relationship growing as friends, it brought us together, closer to being very competitive in golf," Schmitz said. "We always had that competitive lifestyle in golf.
"We always fought to be the best, to play the best, to beat each other - that's what helped me get to the point where I am today."
The short game has always boded well for Schmitz, who said chipping and putting came a little easier for him when he was younger.
However, his driving was a different story especially when he played varsity as a seventh-grader.
"I was really young, I was really small and I could hit the ball maybe 150 yards but it would always go right down the middle," Schmitz said. "As the years progressed, I got stronger and bigger and I could really hit the ball a lot farther."
Schmitz will be attending Minnesota State University in Mankato, where he will be playing for the men's golf team.
"[I'd like to say] thanks to my team and everybody that helped me get to where I am today," Schmitz said. "Thanks to all my close friends who I had spent a lot of hours with on the golf course with me."