Milton boys keep golf success all in the family

William Long of Milton was co-medalist at the Area 4 championship in Dawsonville.

Credit: Georgia State Golf Association

Credit: Georgia State Golf Association

William Long of Milton was co-medalist at the Area 4 championship in Dawsonville.

Having good bloodlines is keeping Milton’s hope for a fourth straight state golf championship alive.

The Eagles lost three seniors from last year’s team and two of them have little brothers who have become stalwarts. The result has been four tournament championships, including a seven-shot win over rival Lambert in the Area 4-7A tournament.

“We had three seniors that graduated and all three of them were a big part of three state championships,” coach Tom Dell said. “We counted all three of their scores, so those were hard to lose. The crazy thing is that two of them have younger brothers that are playing for us. And, lucky for us, they are very good.”

Craig Long graduated and is playing at Northern Illinois. His younger brother, freshman William Love, has been one of the team’s best players and tied for first at the area tournament by shooting a 67.

Rahul Rajendran graduated and is playing at Virginia Tech. His younger brother, sophomore Rithik Rajendran, has been in the lineup all season and shot 72 at the area tournament.

The other senior who graduated was Mason Fundingsland, who is currently playing at Augusta State University.

It’s been an atypical year for the Eagles, who didn’t settle on their starting six until late in the season. Dell had a dozen different players in and out of the lineup until determining his best lineup, which includes seniors Aman Vantipalli and Drew Sacia, junior Owen Barber and sophomore Caden Lee.

“Any of my six golfers could be the low man in a tournament,” Dell said. “I think it’s reassuring for them to understand that it’s not all relying on them. It takes the pressure offer because they know if something bad happens, they’ve got teammates that have their back.”

The current lineup, which won the area tournament, will be intact when the Eagles play for the state championship on Monday and Tuesday at Sunset Hills Country Club in Carrollton.

“They’ve only played in two tournaments together,” Dell said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys who are really good. And we’ve got a whole lot of juniors that are really good. So it’s been a lot of work to determine who is the top six.”