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Malini Rudra leads Syosset to 3rd straight LI girls golf title

Syosset's Malini Rudra with the tee shot at

Syosset's Malini Rudra with the tee shot at the seventh hole during the Girls Long Island Team Golf Championship on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at The Middle Island Country Club. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Malini Rudra’s game was on fire and, thanks to a water cooler bath coordinated by teammates Trisha Patel, Cindy Zhang and Leah Cullen, Syosset coach Steve Naranjo was ice cold.

Rudra shot a 3-over-par 74 at Middle Island Country Club on Tuesday to lead Syosset over Sayville, 433-458, for its third consecutive Long Island girls golf championship.

“Knowing that three seniors are leaving makes this extra sweet,” Rudra said of Patel, Zhang and Cullen. “We all tried really hard to get here and we’re all so proud that we got this again. We’ve been talking about the Long Island championship since the beginning of the season, so this was a great victory.”

As for the celebration afterwards, Cullen said the plan was to dump the water cooler on Naranjo whether Syosset won or lost. “We were going to do it eventually either way, just because we love Naranjo,” she said. “He pushes us, but he’s very encouraging at the same time.”

“This feels very good,” said the still-wet Naranjo, referring to both the ice water on a warm day and his team’s victory. “This group is very special. They’re such nice kids, they’re very coachable, and they just have a general like for each other.”

Syosset also got help from Arushi Gahlaut (81), and Patel (87), who had the day’s third and fourth best scores, respectively. Sarah Sung, Cullen, and Zhang rounded out the lineup for the Braves.

Sayville’s Meg O’Mara shot a 76 to post the match’s second best score, and her teammate Ceili Howland shot an 88.

As had been the case all year, Rudra led the way for Syosset, and shot an even-par 35 on the back nine.

“I can’t say enough about Malini,” Naranjo added. “She’s just a humble, down to earth kid and you’re going to hear more about her coming up.”

Syosset has not lost a team match since April 2014, and Tuesday’s win caps the Braves second consecutive undefeated season.

“This is a very rewarding feeling, after a lot of time and effort put into golf,” Zhang said. “But it doesn’t even seem like work, often times, because whenever we’re playing together we’re always laughing and having a good time no matter what.”

“We’ve had so many great years together,” Patel said. “We were really hoping to finish it off with a Long Island Championship three-peat, so this feels awesome,”

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