DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Annie Dulman was less than 100 miles from the dorm room she knows as home in Winter Park, Fla., but the NCAA Division II Women’s National Championship still was an exhausting trip. By the time the Rollins freshman reached the 17th fairway in the fourth and final round, there was little gas in the tank. On a sweltering day at LPGA International, Dulman pulled the pink towel from her golf bag and laid prone in the middle of the fairway, shading her face until it was her turn to hit.
Dulman capped her freshman season with a T-9 (12-over 300) at the national championship, where she played as an individual. Rollins, ranked third by Golfstat, wasn’t able to advance out of a loaded South Regional that included the top three finishers at the national championship –- Lynn, Nova Southeastern and Barry. Dulman, however was a good respresentative for the Tars.
It’s been a whirlwhind season for the Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., native, who said she first considered Rollins because she was looking for a place with warm weather. It helped that mom Laura, Annie’s swing coach, already knew Rollins head coach Julie Garner. Laura played for Kentucky and Garner played for Alabama.
“It’s not too far from home, but most importantly the weather,” Annie said of Rollins. “I know that I’ll get to play every tournament, I won’t have to worry about making the team. It’s less pressure.”
Dulman entered the national championship as the top-ranked player in Golfstat’s head-to-head player rankings. Her scoring average, 74.38, was nearly a stroke better than the next best player, Nova Southeastern freshman Linnea Johansson. Dulman and Johansson are friendly rivals, and when the season’s awards were announced at a player banquet the night before the final round at LPGA International, Dulman was convinced Johansson would be named Player of the Year. Johansson correctly guessed it would be Dulman.
“It was kind of like a combination of a lot of patience and hard work,” said Dulman, who found herself on the podium addressing Johansson in the crowd.
That award came on the heels of winning Freshman of the Year. By the time Dulman earned the second award, the emcee had only to refer to her as “Annie.” Everyone knows this player from South Florida, and that means the Division II women’s golf community as well as the Rollins community.
Garner calls Dulman the mayor of Winter Park. It’s difficult to keep Dulman focused if she’s talking on the phone while walking through campuses. There are too many friends to greet. Dulman’s personality is infectious, and her on-course demeanor is as sweet as the pink and green pastel paisley she wore for the final round of the national championship.
Dulman is a player who strives for absolute perfection, even if it means heaping pressure upon herself. “That’s my job,” Garner often says to her. Regardless, Dulman is off to a stronger start than many of the players who have come before her. She’s only the third Rollins player in program history to earn Player of the Year at the end of her freshman season.
“One of the reasons we really wanted her at Rollins is she’s got a great personality that people want to be around,” Garner said.
Dulman had plans to return to Winter Park and pack up her dorm room the day after the national championship. Then it’s back to South Florida for a U.S. Women’s Open sectional qualifier followed by some much-needed rest. Dulman battled a wrist injury that began to bother her during a winter tournament stretch that included the Dixie Women’s Amateur, the Harder Hall Invitational and the South Atlantic Amateur.
The wrist injury means Dulman will have to scale back her summer tournament schedule, likely sitting out of the North & South Women’s Amateur and the Western Women’s Amateur. That leaves hopeful U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Women’s Amateur berths.
Hindered slightly by the injury, Dulman said the only thing she didn’t accomplish during her freshman season was better play in the Division I fields in which Rollins played. It’s a good goal for next year. In the meantime, Dulman also is switching her major from communication with a public-relations track to studio art. It shows another uniquely Dulman trait, and another reason why she has thrived at Rollins. She has other hobbies.
Dulman doesn’t want to hear the question, “Are you going to turn pro?” For now, college golf suits her just fine.
“(Rollins) is a good place where I don’t have to turn pro,” Dulman said. “I have other things that I can do.”