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Healthy and Focused on Golf, Karns City Sophomore Chloe Fritch Shooting for Big Things on the Links This Season

CHICORA, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Her irons were solid. Her putts — long and short alike — were all falling.

Chloe Fritch was feeling pretty good during the early part of her round at Foxburg Country Club on Tuesday afternoon.

But the Karns City sophomore is wise beyond her years, especially when it comes to golf.

She is well aware of how quickly things can go awry on the course, how one bad shot can send a day spiraling into disaster.

“Sometimes you start off bad. Sometimes you start off good,” Fritch said. “I was like, ‘OK. You’re off to a good start, but it can easily go downhill.’”

It didn’t.

Fritch was remarkably consistent during the Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference Mega Match. She carded seven pars and two bogeys on the way to a career-low 36 to win medalist honors.

The victory was a big deal.

She bested a field of 54 golfers from nine teams. Only three of those competitors are female.

“It was just one of those good days, you know, when everything was coming together,” Fritch said. “I felt really confident with my putter, which helped tremendously in getting those pars.”

The win was even sweeter.

She also celebrated her 16th birthday on Wednesday.

“It was a perfect birthday gift for me, I guess,” she said.

Fritch was more eager to tell her dad and Karns City golf coach Eric Fritch about her round than she was at taking a glance at the leaderboard. She said she figured she had a shot at being medalist, but didn’t give it much thought initially.

“I was just glad I shot well and everything came together,” Fritch said. “I was actually so excited to tell my dad that I wasn’t really focused on that. I knew I’d be up there somewhere, but I wasn’t thinking I was gonna be in first place. I wasn’t expecting that at all.”

Fritch’s approach on the course is typically one of caution.

Play it safe. No unnecessary risks.

It was has worked well for her over the years.

Fritch isn’t a big hitter off the tee. Instead she shaves precious strokes off her score with strong iron play and a solid short game. When she is putting well, like she was on Tuesday, she is tough to beat.

“I’m never going to hit it as far as other people can — that’s just how I play,” Fritch said. “I have to make it up around the green. Just eliminating the damage is one of my key things.”

Fritch had an odd season last year.

In the first soccer match of her career in early September, she fractured the metatarsal at the base of her big toe. The injury kept her off the pitch and the golf course for more than a month.

When she did return to the links, she wore a special brace on her foot and went out and shot an 88 at the District 9 Girls Class 2A Individual Golf Championships to place second behind Clarion’s McKayla Kerle.

Fritch would like nothing more than another shot at a D9 title. She and Kerle, who was sixth on Tuesday with a 39, should have quite the battle again.

“Hopefully I’ll be more prepared this year than last year just because of my foot,” Fritch said. “It’s on my mind — I’m looking forward to it — but I’m, also just focusing on the matches, like tomorrow at Hunter’s Station.”

Fritch gave up soccer this year to give more of her attention to golf. She also plays basketball and is on the track and field team at Karns City.

It was a tough decision to leave soccer behind.

“I just wanted to focus on golf,” she said. “I mean, I love soccer. If it was maybe a different time, I would love to do it. But with basketball and track, it’s hard. I really love golf and that’s my main thing. It was hard. I’ve been friends with those girls since I was little.”

Quitting soccer gave Fritch more time to hone her golfing craft.

And to play more rounds her her father.

“This year I beat him once,” Fritch said. “That was a big accomplishment for me. Dad knew it was coming at some point. He works on his game all the time, too. It’s been very competitive this year.”

Fritch has also worked hard on her mental game.

It hasn’t always been easy.

“That’s what I’ve been working on mainly this year — keep my head and make sure I don’t get as mad as easily if I have one bad hole,” Fritch said.

“My dad always tells me, not to be a Debbie Downer or anything, that you’re always going to make mistakes,” she added. “You’re gonna make a mistake at one point and you’re going to have to accept the fact that you’re not going to have a perfect round and that you need to keep your head when something like that happens. I mean, I’m not perfect. No one is.”