Former Diamond Bar golfer shines at PGA event
At age 19, alumnus Sahith Theegala is now setting records at Pepperdine University.
March 23, 2017
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After making his mark as a golfer at Diamond Bar High School, Sahith Theegala has not only established himself on Pepperdine University’s golf team, but last month he made his PGA tournament debut.
During his time as at DBHS, Theegala was a vital member of the golf team, according to his former coach Ty Watkins. Theegala chose to continue his golfing career at Pepperdine with a full scholarship, after graduating in 2015. Theegala credits his decision to attend Pepperdine to the players and coaches as well as the overall environment and academics.
“[The coaching staff] made me feel as if this was a place that I could really take my game to the next level and possibly win a national championship as a team.” Theegala said via Facebook. “They are also very genuine people, and have heard from many other people that the coaches at Pepperdine don’t get any better.”
Though he has had a relatively smooth transition from playing in high school to the collegiate level, he noted that the competition is more challenging and the courses are tuned more toward pro-level playing. He was named the 2016 West Coast Conference freshman of the year and is ranked by Golfweek magazine as 38th top college golfer.
Pepperdine’s website called Theegala’s season “arguably the best freshman season of any player in Pepperdine history.” His scoring average for the 2015-2016 season was 71.06, the fourth best out of any Pepperdine golfer single-season history. Theegala also set the freshman record for most below-par rounds with 17. He also had two top 10 finishes during that same season.
“The competition is much stronger because everyone who is playing DI college golf has a tremendous amount of skill,” Theegala said.
Theegala was the only amateur player to qualify for the Genesis Open, held in February at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, allowing the 19 year old to compete with the best professional golfers in the world. But he did more than just compete.
Going into the third round of the tournament, Theegala was tied for 20th in the field of 144, shooting 3 under par. At one point during the first two days of the tournament, he was tied for seventh.
Theegala shot 71 both Saturday and Sunday, finishing the tournament two under par and 49th. It was the highest finish by an amateur golfer at the Los Angeles event in 57 years. Both days, he was paired up with five-time majors champion Phil Mickelson, a highlight for the DBHS alumnus.
“[Mickelson] has so much wisdom golf-wise and I was able to pick up some things here and there from him,” Theegala said.
This year, Theegala will participate in the U.S. Amateur at Riviera in August after placing in last year’s quarterfinals. He plans to play in qualifying pro events, but will stay amateur until he graduates from Pepperdine.
“Having someone like Sahith, who’s a very humble guy, he’s such a great individual and great person, get to that level is pretty exciting,” Watkins said.