Looking for a Dull moment

Lakota standout back competing for state title

It’s probably not a big surprise Lakota sophomore Kyleigh Dull is back at the state tournament.

Dull, a natural golfer on the course, once again had a dominating regular season and will play on the Gray Course in Columbus Friday and Saturday, vying for a state title in Division II.

Yes, Dull was arguably the best girls player in the area this year, but it wasn’t smooth sailing.

Lakota coach Ty Ray said there was a week stretch where Dull was sick and even in the hospital, but that didn’t stop her.

“This year, I noticed improvements with her strength,” he said. “She gained some physical strength because obviously coming in as a freshman last year, she wasn’t as mature physically back then as she is now and this season. Last year I was just blown away with how strong her mental game was.

“The big obstacle this year was when she was sick and out 5-7 days. That took away from her daily routine and it took her a little time to come back fully after that. She’s definitely had some obstacles to overcome this year compare to last season.”

Dull shot a 73 to advance to state this season. She was just two strokes behind Shelby’s Anna Ruminski at Sycamore Springs.

Even when Dull hasn’t been at her peak physically, she still has the mental game to carry her through, Ray said.

“Golf is unlike any other sport where the top or best player doesn’t always win or some times isn’t even close like you see sometimes on the PGA Tour,” he said. “The mental part of the game can be compared to a yo-yo with all the ups and downs of a round. Kyleigh does a fantastic job of staying calm and knows what type of shot she needs to recover or play a tricky shot after a bad one. Her ability to mentally recover is the best I’ve ever coached in my 25 years of golf or basketball.”

Ray said Dull and a few other local girls from Gibsonburg and Ottawa Hills always have been the best in the area and they all will have a solid chance at winning this weekend.

“Those couple of girls have been head and shoulders above anyone else this season,” he said. “Every single day on the course I know Kyleigh is going to hit the ball straight off the tee and put herself in the optimal position to attack the green. She knows the gray course well even watching her sister (Makayla) play there all four years. She was taking notes even back then, which I was amazed by. She still has those notes and uses them to this day, so she is well prepared for this weekend.

“The biggest thing this year will be avoiding the three putts. She has to stay away from them. She had two or three in both rounds and she still shot a 74. If she can get rid of them she can be right around even par.”

Even with the three putts, she was tied for the lead after the first round. With all of the notes and experience of playing on the course last year, Dull is primed for a big weekend.

“I’m sure (winning) is a goal of hers, but I know she won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen,” Ray said. “Her goal every night is to beat everyone else on the course that night and that’s what the best golfers and competitors should think about. Kyleigh always has that mentality and that’s why she is consistently one of the best out there.

“Getting to Columbus is an awesome accomplishment. What amazes me is that she is such an elite player from the boys tee, which she’s played the whole year. The closest competitor to her this season was four strokes behind her, so that is total domination even from the boys tees. She’s done that for two years now, which is incredible to think about. I don’t see anything slowing her down and I know she will keep improving. I don’t see any reason she won’t be even more successful in the years to come.”