Nothing Dull about state tournament win
COLUMBUS Maybe the most shocking thing Makayla Dull said Saturday after winning the Division II Girls State Golf Tournament was what she planned to do Sunday.
Not rest on the couch.
Nope. Play golf.
Now granted, it won’t be as grueling or as high stakes as the past two days were for the Lakota junior.
But she was to be back out on the course Sunday with her boyfriend, Jack Raymond, playing the game she found a love for when she was 3.
Fast forward 13 years and countless hours of lessons and links later and Dull is sitting in an envious position: state champion.
In some ways she reminds me of a woman I spent a number of years covering at a previous newspaper: Upper Sandusky native Emily (Bastel) Glaser.
Which is ironic, because one of the coaches Dull has consulted over the years in her development was Glaser’s father, Dave Bastel, who owns and operates Lincoln Hills Golf Club in Upper Sandusky.
Emily, now the University of Florida’s women’s golf coach, was one of the most calculated players I’ve ever seen in any sport.
Each shot was meticulously thought out by Emily before she took it. She studied greens like there were hidden hieroglyphics amongst the blades. She was so calculated at times she was warned for slow play, something Dull’s group was warned against on more than one occasion this weekend.
But most of all what struck you about Emily was how mature she was. I started covering her when she was at Michigan State and I was constantly amazed that her demeanor, her vocabulary and her discipline didn’t reflect a 21-year-old but rather someone in their mid-30s with years of life experience under her belt.
In some ways, Dull is like that.
She’s certainly still a 16-year-old in so many ways.
Two years ago, I was at the same course and interviewing a crying 14-year-old Dull who was upset with her 16-over 86 on the first day. Liquid was falling from the sky and from her eyes.
And I remember thinking to myself, “Young lady, you have so much life ahead of you. This round will be just a blip on your life’s radar.”
Little did she know that just a few months later, an ugly injury in her other favorite sport would change her life dramatically.
With the knee injury, Dull gave up basketball, a sport she says she loves as much as golf, and focused not only on coming back but becoming so much better than her game had taken her at that time.
The story around last year’s trip to state surrounded the knee injury and her recovery to get back to the state tournament.
Coming back from a knee injury is not a story. Athletes do it all the time.
But the measure of determination she showed in doing so, now that’s the story.
And that’s where the maturity begins.
I’ve covered a lot of state golf over my years in this industry. You see a lot of kids crumble when they have a bad hole. They let a bad stroke morph into two bad strokes and next thing you know, you have a double bogey, and then six more bogeys and there’s no coming back.
Saturday, Dull drove her tee shot on No. 11 into the front sand trap. She blasted out but not where she wanted to. Instead of getting onto the green, her shot landed on the rough near the fringe.
You could see she was frustrated with her shot.
But she adjusted her mindset, lined up her chip and sailed a shot that bounced and rolled toward the hole. It lipped off and she tapped it in for a bogey.
On No. 12, she snap hooked her tee shot through some trees along the fairway. But she played her second shot back onto the fairway and finished the hole with a par, just like she did the rest of the day.
I’ve seen such a sequence of events unglue a lot of kids through the years.
But not Dull. With her, it’s truly one shot at a time, something that brought me back to Emily and her style of play.
Dull showed poise on the course and in front of the microphone. While inside she was all nerves, you could never tell it by watching her.
In talking with her afterward, you heard a kid talk with great maturity about what she had accomplished. And it was in that way she reminded me again of Emily.
Probably the most used word among high school female athletes when talking about an accomplishment is “amazing.”
There were no “amazing” quotes from Dull Saturday in the 12 minutes we talked.
There was a “tremendous” but no amazing.
It’s ironic because like Emily before her, Dull proved she can be simply that.
Aaron Korte is a sports writer for the Advertiser-Tribune. He can reached at email@example.com or by following on Twitter @KorteClarkKent.