Brad Lankler ’17 calls it “the brother rule.”
Thinking back to when he began playing golf a decade ago, Lankler is quick to mention his younger brother, Justin, who had been playing golf for some time.
“He’d always show me that he was better than me,” Brad says. “But there’s one rule: Never let your little brother beat you in anything.”
Armed with that competitive fire, Brad Lankler developed into a standout golfer in high school and at Franklin & Marshall. His numerous accolades include two All-America honors, and he’s helped Diplomat golf solidify its position as one of the top programs in NCAA Division III. The team has won three straight Centennial Conference (CC) championships and last year tied for 12th at the national tournament as Lankler and teammate Stephen Colodny both finished in the top 10.
“I had no expectations for my golf career at F&M. It’s been a surprise, but a great surprise,” Lankler says. “It’s nice to be part of the program’s success. After the second round at Rochester (site of the NCAAs) last year, Steve Colodny said, ‘Guess what? We’re in fourth place.’ It was such a terrific feeling to be close to winning a national championship.”
Lankler also recalls challenging times on the course. In his first CC championship tournament, he had a three-shot lead going into the final round but played as poorly as he could have imagined for the first 12 holes.
“I was freaking out because the 13th hole was difficult. Coach (Andy) Tompos was there to calm me down and make me smile, and I proceeded to make the best six pars of my life. That championship was the coolest thing I’ve been part of. It was the first tournament that, for me, united the individual and team aspects of golf.”
Lankler plans to apply to medical school with the goal of becoming an interventional radiologist. He says balancing F&M’s rigorous curriculum with both fall and spring golf seasons has been a challenge, but one he’s managed effectively.
“It’s not hard to succeed in both academics and athletics, but it’s difficult to incorporate time to relax,” he says. “Anyone can go from practice to the library and study for three hours, but I try to get my mind off things by playing music or going to the driving range.”
As he prepares for his final semester teeing it up for the Blue and White, he’s got a new teammate with whom he has a special history—his brother, who became a first-year student at F&M this year. “We played together one year in high school, too,” Brad says. “We push each other. We’re competitive.”