Dull eyeing title

She was 10th her freshman year and fifth her sophomore year.

With two All-Ohio performances already under her belt, Lakota junior Makayla Dull has her sights set high for her third trip to Columbus – a state title.

“That’s my ultimate goal; that’s what I’m looking at right now,” she said. “It would mean so much. I’d be very proud and honored. I put a lot of time into it, so I’d be very proud of myself.”

Dull already has a lot to be proud of this season as she prepares for the Division II state girls golf championships.

She finished fifth in the Midland Athletic League playing along side the boys. In the postseason, she was the medalist at the sectional and district tournaments.

It’s easy to say that Dull is playing her best golf at the best time. But, she and her coach Chad Garberich agree that work still needs to be done on her short game.

“My swing is pretty decent; it’s pretty good. I think it’s set for right now,” Dull said before a practice session Tuesday. “I’m going to work with my coach on my short game a lot today. I think that’s the main thing right now. Just to work a lot on my short game.

“She’s playing really well right now, hitting the ball extremely well,” Garberich added. “It’s all going to come down to whether or not she can make some putts. Putting is going to be very important this week for her. She has not putted very well this year yet. … If she can roll a few putts in and get the short blade working, she’ll have a chance to do what she wants to do.”

Dull tees off Friday at 9:40 a.m. at The Ohio State University Gray Course. It’s the same course she’s played her previous two state trips on. The experience she has with the course should give her a bit of an edge.

“She should have a good comfortable feel for it, know where all the trouble is,” Garberich said. “Me and Troy, her dad, talk all the time about the holes she’s struggled with in the past. So we’ll have a good practice round on Thursday and I think with her experience from the years past she’ll be ready to go.”

Dull says although knowledge of the course is important, the experience factor will help her more with the mental side of things and how to approach her round.

“I have experience so it’s nothing super new,” Dull said. “The course isn’t super hard. Just the past few years I’ve been playing in really bad weather there with the wind and rain. It’s been really bad with that. Other than that, I don’t think it’s a very difficult course. It’s pretty straight forward. There’s not many tricks to the course.

“I can’t be thinking about how everyone else is playing. I got to be thinking about how I’m playing and think one shot at a time. I can’t be wondering about how everyone else is doing. I just got to play my game.”

When she took fifth at state a year ago, Dull was still less than a year removed from tearing her ACL. Her play on the course would make one believe that she had made a full recovery, but a year later, she says her full strength has finally returned.

“With my knee injury, I wasn’t as strong last year,” she said. “I didn’t see it back then, but people told me I didn’t have my full strength. And looking how far I drive and the distances, compared to last year with the ladies tees, it’s shorter. With distances it’s shorter now since I’m stronger.”

Her strength is just one area where Dull feels she’s better than last year. Another is the mental game, and that could be the difference that can push her to the top of the leaderboard.

“After playing so many times with guys and going to state two times, I think I’m really mentally prepared,” she said.