By MICHAEL BURWELL
COLUMBUS — Kyleigh Dull found herself in a couple of star-studded groups on Saturday.
One on the course and one on the awards podium.
The Lakota freshman, playing with the defending state champion and another first-team all-Ohioan, fired a 4-over 74 in the second round and finished fourth with a two-day total of 146 in the OHSAA Division II girls state golf tournament at the Ohio State University Gray Course.
“I think my goal was to get first team and I did that,” said Dull, who earned a spot on the all-Ohio squad with her finish. “I didn’t win state, but I got three years ahead of me.
“I think I had a pretty good round today and that’s all I kind of care about is that I played my game. I tried to go shot by shot each time and I just tried to focus on my routine of everything. Things were pretty good today.”
Dull finished seven strokes behind Eaton’s Sarah Willis, who shot a 3-under 67 to defend her state title with a 72-67–139. St. Marys Memorial’s Jill Schmitmeyer, who was fifth a year ago, was also in Dull’s group and finished tied for runner-up with a 73-69–142.
“I played pretty well as a freshman. The state champion’s mom told me that I had a really bright future since I was only a freshman, and I think it was pretty awesome playing with her,” Dull said of Willis. “I didn’t know I was competing with the state champion overall looking back at it, but I think I was in a good group playing with them because they were really good golfers.”
Despite playing in her first state tournament, Dull said she felt comfortable on the par-70, 5,500-yard Gray Course. Her 74 was the second-best 18-hole score she had this season, with her opening-round 72 being her best.
“It is a big tournament, don’t get me wrong, but my nerves, they were OK,” Dull said. “They were OK compared to what I thought they were going to be … State is pretty big, but I was trying not to make it bigger than what it was. My dad told me it is state, but it’s not that hard of a course. It’s just like a beefed-up course that I used to play, and I was just like ‘yeah, you know, it’s not that hard.’ Par 70, you have a lot of scoring holes that you can do.”
Dull’s round included a birdie on the par-5 15th, but she had a pair of three-putt bogeys over her final three holes.
“I just tried to stay within my shots and I just tried to keep myself in pace with trying to get even par, even if I was four over at one time, I tried to get back down to three but then I made some three-putts that weren’t good, so I’d go back over to four,” Dull said. “I just don’t feel I ended as strong as I could, but I just tried to stay within myself. I think first team as a freshman, getting fourth place in the state of Ohio for Division II, is pretty neat.”
Independence, led by Sophia Trombetta’s runner-up finish (68-74–142), won the team title with a 320-332–652. Shelby (335-328–663) and Lima Central Catholic (332-335–667) finished second and third, respectively.
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