Syosset Junior Is Ace In The Hole

Malini Rudra after winning the 91st Junior Girls Open Championship

For the Rudras, the game of golf has become something that is very much a three-generation family affair. Youngest daughter Malini best epitomizes this, having played competitively in anywhere between 16 and 20 tournaments on an annual basis. Her devotion to hitting the greens most recently had her winning the 91st Junior Girls Open Championship which was held at the Forest Hill Country Club in Bloomfield, NJ. Organized by the Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association, it is the oldest junior girls tournament in the United States.

She followed this up by placing in the top 5 at the New York State Junior Girls Amateur Championship played at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY. Having seen her grandmother, both parents and her sibling develop a taste for hitting the greens, it’s something the younger Rudra took to despite the fact that golf initially felt a bit slow for her.

“At first, I didn’t really like it and thought it was really boring. But once I was around 9, I tried it again and really fell in love with it,” she said. “I also became really competitive with my sister, who is older than me and I really wanted to beat her. It drove me to practice more and work harder and that’s when I got into playing tournaments.”

Malini Rudra driving the ball during a recent tournament

It’s this devotion to getting better and working harder that has Rudra putting in about 20 hours a week practicing when she’s not off competing in tournaments. Not only does she work with a personal trainer in the winter to build up her strength, but the Syosset junior also has a swing coach who she sees every week to work on various parts of her game. Winter finds the family traveling to Florida in order for Rudra to practice in more accommodating weather. Interestingly enough, the cerebral side of golf tends to be more taxing for the budding star.

“With golf, you have to be mentally focused for about four-and-a-half hours and if you have a bad hole, it’s really easy to get down on yourself and to think really negatively, which can have a really bad impact on the rest of your round. So I think learning to stay positive throughout, even after a bad hole or a bad couple of shots is the hardest part,” she explained. “I know when I play tournaments, it gets really competitive. But my coach and also my parents always tell me that no matter what, to always enjoy yourself. I know I can get really stressed out worrying about the results of the tournament. But when I remember to enjoy [myself] and that I’m playing a round of golf, it’s the best piece of advice that I’ve gotten. It’s really easy to get frustrated, but when I think about the big picture and enjoy my round of golf, I play better when I think that way.”

Malini Rudra lining up her putt

A fan of Jordan Spieth and Christie Kerr, Rudra counts English and math as her current favorite subjects. While she’s unsure about her major (currently it’s a toss-up between law and political science), she has definite plans to play collegiate golf, preferably at an academically elite college or university. One of the major upsides of traveling around to play this game she loves so much is the camaraderie and relationships that have come out of playing in all these tournaments.

“I love meeting people, especially girls from different parts of the country and internationally. Because when I travel to play in these tournaments, I meet girls from around the world,” Rudra said. “Also talking about how much we love golf and meeting each other—I think that’s enjoyable. I’ve also made a lot of close friends on Long Island who play golf. I think that aspect is what I really love about it.”

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In addition to being editor of Garden City Life and Syosset-Jericho Tribune, Dave Gil de Rubio is a regular contributor to Long Island Weekly, specializing in music and sports features. He has won several awards for writing from Press Club of Long Island (PCLI).

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