COLUMBUS ? Within two holes, it was easy to see how much Makayla Dull had grown in a year.
In the span of 530 yards at the Division II Girls State Golf Tournament, Dull talked more to her playing partners, Rachel Sines of Poland Seminary and Faithe Carr of Centerburg, than she did all of her first round last year.
She clearly was at ease.
And there's nothing dull when the Lakota sophomore is at ease and in her element.
Dull finished the day in eighth place with a 79, seven strokes off the leader, Maddy Mullins of Sandusky Perkins.
"Last year I was just very nervous and I didn't know what I was coming into," Dull said. "This year I have the experience and I know what it's like and overall I feel more comfortable here."
Her lack of nerves showed with a trio of pars to start her day as she teed off the back nine of the Gray Course at Ohio State University.
But a double bogey on No. 13 was followed by three straight bogeys. She finished her first nine with two pars to come around the turn at 5-over.
"The first few holes I was pretty happy about but then I had this little bogey streak and it took me a while to break it," Dull said. "After I broke it, then I started playing a lot better."
Lakota coach Chad Garberich said Dull did the same thing at the district tourney.
"She did the same thing at districts where she bogeyed, like, seven straight holes," he said. "It doesn't make any sense. There's no reason she should ever do that but she gets in these little funks."
He said there's not usually a lot he can say to her to shake her from those lows when she's in them.
"I try anything and everything with her. I've tried a billion different things to get her to redirect or make a joke to get her to smile," he said. "But often times, it has to come from herself. It's going to be anything anyone else is going to do. She's got to get that confidence in herself and she's made leaps and bounds alone from the first tournament this year to now."
She calmed down on her second nine holes. She started off how she finished her first nine, with two pars.
But she had a couple hiccups on her next two holes, with a double bogey on No. 3 and a bogey following that.
She closed out her round with five straight pars.
"What was giving me trouble was my irons," Dull said. "I only hit one green in regulation in my front nine. My iron play wasn't what it needed to be. What was working, though, was my drives. My drives never put me in any trouble. They were all straight and put my in good positions."
Sitting in eighth now, the goal for Dull becomes a top-five finish, which would mean first-team All-Ohio honors.
She knows she has to do some better things today when she tees off at No. 1 this morning at 9:48.
"I don't have as much pressure on myself (as I had last year)," Dull said. "This year I put myself in a better position and I won't put as much pressure on myself (today) but I'll still put enough to improve. I want to do better than I did today."
Garberich said she'll be ready to go.
"(Friday) she only hit four greens in regulation and that's low for her. To her credit, she still took her pars, which is what you have to do here to score," he said. "She didn't miss a put inside of 4 feet all day and didn't three-putt all day, so if she can continue that success (today) and hit a few more greens, she'll be right there with a chance to win."