Lakota freshman Dull fires a 75 and advances to state

ARLINGTON — Sycamore Springs is not an easy course for any golfer — unless your name is Kyleigh Dull.

The Lakota freshman started on the back nine with a 40 and followed that up with a 35 on the front with a trip to state on the line.

The Raider was fearless shooting a 75, which was good enough for second overall to Gibsonburg freshman Sydney Leyerle (72), as she advanced to the state tournament in Division II.

It wasn’t promising early on for Dull. She made a double-bogey on the No. 11 par 5 to go 3 over through three holes.

“It’s been kind of a pattern with her lately because at the SBC, sectionals and now today it seems she has a bad hole early, but she has been able to put it behind her all three times,” Lakota coach Ty Ray said. “She is able to get her mental game back and she’s been spectacular to finish the day playing really good golf.

“She is just so mentally strong and fights through adversity better than any athlete I’ve coached no matter the sport.”

The top four teams and top four individuals not on those teams qualified. Dull will play on the Ohio State University Gray Course Oct. 13-14.

Lima Central Catholic and Shelby tied at 338, but the Thunderbirds had the better fifth score. St. Henry shot a 362 and Edison had a 365.

Ray said as soon as Lakota played Gibsonburg earlier in the season when Dull and Leyerle went head-to-head, he knew they could both be heading to state.

“I saw the score they both put up and I immediately thought they are definitely one of the best twin golfers in the state,” he said. “For them to not make it to state would have been a disappointment honestly. But golf is goofy and one bad bounce or a bad hole and you may not make it back. I was proud of the way she grinded out some holes early.”

Those who follow high school golf in the area may not be surprised to see the last name Dull at the state tournament. Kyleigh’s sister, who is currently at Akron, went to state all four years at Lakota and was the state champion her junior year.

“(Kyleigh’s) experience, the amount she plays… she is definitely wise beyond her years,” Ray said. “She has a lot of knowledgeable people helping her out and she draws from her sister for guidance as well.

“For her, her swing is textbook. There are no flaws. It’s the same exact swing every time. Repeating it and getting that repetition in, she’s got it tuned in now. I’ve coached golf maybe six or seven years boys and girls and I’ve never seen a swing so pure and precise every single time.”

Ray said Dull expects to challenge for the state title next week, but he always reminds her to take everything in and realize what she is accomplishing in her first year in high school.

“She believes she is good enough to challenge for it and so do I,” he said. “Honestly, all I told her today was to have fun. To live in the moment and soak everything in and to remember the environment because golf is so goofy sometimes that you may not make it back next season. I want her to cherish the moment next week.”