A co-champion last year, Dull returns to Columbus motivated

Girls State Golf

It is not common to use a state championship as further fuel.

Usually when you reach the pinnacle of your team or individual sport, you feel satisfied and successful.

Enter Lakota’s Kyleigh Dull.

Dull, a junior, tied for the individual Division II state championship last season with Jami Morris of Shaker Heights Laurel, but that is not good enough.

“We have talked about it a little bit, but not much,” Lakota coach Ty Ray said.

“When it happened, on the day of it, I think she was just more ecstatic to have won it. It did not matter if it was a tie. I think as the year has gone on, it has fueled her a little bit. She has continued to work hard and wants to get a title all to herself.”

Dull and Morris, also a junior who qualified with her team for Friday’s state championship, each shot a combined 147 at the Gray Course at Ohio State University last October. In fact, both shot at 73 in the first round and a 74 in the second round. There was no tie-breaker, thus creating co-state champions.

“There are pros and cons to it,” Dull said. “I really wanted to win the state title for myself. But if we would have had a playoff and I lost, I would have been upset. If we played a playoff, we would have technically found out who won.”

Dull will have a practice round today at 10:30 a.m. before teeing off on Friday at 10:40 a.m.

“I feel like I have played decent this year;” Dull said. “It has been mediocre, I would say. I played better at sectional and districts, but still missed some putts. I am playing pretty good now compared to the beginning of the season.”

But for Dull, the consistency of a long, grueling season, has only made her better.

“I was a little worried where she would be right now,” Ray said. “She did not play a ton of golf over the summer and has kind of crammed it all in recently. I thought she might get a little tired at this stage, but she has only really gotten stronger as the season has gone on.”

Dull helped lead the Raiders to their third-consecutive Sandusky Bay Conference River division title. Dull was named the Player of the Year for the third straight year while playing a majority of her shots against boys. Ray noted she uses the boys tees and more than holds her own.

“It is incredible, really,” Ray said. ” She is hitting it just as far as them. I think that says a lot about her and her game. She is consistent.”

Dull won the SBC River tournament with a 77, which was tied for the best score across the three SBC divisions.

“Golf is such an unique game,” Ray said. “The best does not always win. I think Kyleigh is happy to be back to defend her state championship and with some luck, try to win it again.”

Dull was the sectional champion at the Fostoria Country Club with a 73 and followed that up with a 71 in the district tournament at Sycamore Springs. She tied for the medalist round at Sycamore Springs, tying with St. Henry’s Ellen Naumann.

As a freshman, Dull finished fourth at state. She got an opening-round 72, which was tied for second. She added a 74 on Saturday.

“In golf, you can not really worry about the other scores,” Ray said. “It is you against the course.”

Not only will Dull have to battle the course, the weather conditions will create two different days this weekend. Friday is supposed to be in the 70s, while Saturday’s high might reach 50.

“Last year on Friday, it was really nice,” Dull said. “Saturday it was so cold I could not feel my hands, so it might be the same this year. I generally play well when it is cold, but it is hard to hit a golf ball when you can not feel your hands.”

Dull has continued to carry on the family legacy, as older sister Makayla took home a state title in 2013 as a junior. Makayla had four top-10 finishes in her high school career.

“This is a special feeling,” Dull said

“Columbus means a lot to me. I grew up watching my sister and this time of the year is special. It is hard to compare our state championships, but it would be nice to say I won it more times than her.”